A long-awaited report into how people were infected with hepatitis C and HIV through contaminated blood products in Scotland has been delayed following the death of the chairman’s wife.
The Penrose Inquiry had been expected to publish its findings by the end of March this year, following a previous delay caused by extra evidence being sought from witnesses which had already pushed back its publication.
It comes six years after a pledge to hold an investigation into blood contamination was made by the Scottish Government.
Yesterday, the inquiry team announced, with regret from Lord Penrose, that there would be a delay to the intended publication date for the final report.
It follows numerous delays to another major health inquiry, into a C difficile outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital, which is now due to be published by the end of March.
The Penrose Inquiry said it would provide an update on the progress of the report by the end of February,
In a statement, the inquiry said: “The Inquiry team had hoped to report by end of March 2014, but this will no longer be possible for a number of reasons.”
These reasons include the death of Lord Penrose’s wife towards the end of last year, which had affected the timetable.
The inquiry said the process of sending “warning letters” to people who would be criticised in the final report was also taking longer than anticipated.
And it said that further work on statistics was also taking longer than expected.
The statement said: “Lord Penrose appreciates and deeply regrets that the delay will cause dismay to many with an interest in the inquiry’s outcome.
“Despite his difficult personal circumstances, Lord Penrose remains committed to publishing his final report as early as possible and the report is now in its concluding stage.”