Penrose Inquiry into infected blood to ‘fall at final hurdle’

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THE inquiry into how hundreds of people in Scotland were infected with hepatitis and HIV from NHS-supplied blood products will not establish how many victims there are, campaigners have warned.

They say more people who believe they have been infected by contaminated transfusions should be able to take part in the Penrose Inquiry.

The inquiry, led by senior judge Lord Penrose, has already taken almost four years, but only 20 victims have given evidence – out of more than 150 believed to be victims, who have submitted statements.

Campaigners say this has meant crucial evidence has remained unchallenged, and they now believe the scale of the tragedy will never be known.

Patrick McGuire, of Thompsons Solicitors, which represents a number of people affected, said he feared the inquiry would stop short of producing a definitive figure for the number of people infected.

Mr McGuire said: “Over the course of many years, countless people, including victims, campaigners and legal teams, have worked tirelessly to ensure this inquiry served its purpose.

“It seems that at this final, but vital hurdle all hopes of achieving the answers these victims so badly need could be diminished. There appears to be a lack of appetite to go the extra distance to achieve the desired results, and if that is the case, then this will come as a devastating blow to the victims and their families.”

Lord Penrose has been examining how people received contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s. The inquiry was set up by the Scottish Government following a long campaign.

A written decision on the findings is due next year.