Hundreds of blood contamination files ‘removed and missing’

Hundreds of files relating to contaminated blood were removed by Government officials and went missing, it has emerged. Picture: NHS Blood and Transplant/PA Wire
Hundreds of files relating to contaminated blood were removed by Government officials and went missing, it has emerged. Picture: NHS Blood and Transplant/PA Wire
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Hundreds of files relating to contaminated blood were removed by Government officials and went missing, it has emerged.

A Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) investigation conducted last year following the start of the Infected Blood Inquiry found around 950 files relating to blood policy had been “checked out” by staff going back years.

The GIAA report has now been released under freedom of information laws to campaigner Jason Evans, whose father died in 1993 having contracted hepatitis and HIV.

The 29-year-old, who is suing the Government for negligence, said the removal of documents “probably goes back decades” and could form part of a Government cover-up.

The contaminated blood scandal has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS. Thousands of patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C by contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

Many had haemophilia, a blood-clotting disorder, and relied on regular injections of clotting agent Factor VIII, which was made from pooling human blood plasma.

Britain was running low on supplies of Factor VIII so imported products from the US, where prison inmates and others were paid for giving blood.

In September the first UK-wide probe, the Infected Blood Inquiry, heard that more than 25,000 people could have been affected.

The GIAA report released to Mr Evans and dated November 6, 2018, said almost 1,000 files relating to blood policy had been checked out by officials.

These included around 450 files checked out by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) staff and a further 500 by Department for Education workers.

It said: “DHSC staff can check out paper files they need from the archives, [they] should return these once finished.

“The records management (RM) team has identified that there are c.450 files relating to blood policy which have been checked out and not returned, and the RM team is currently working to recover these.

Mr Evans, who runs the campaign group Factor 8, said ministers have for years said that all papers relating to the scandal had been made public or had been destroyed.

“The undoubted question that arises now from victims and families is: why were the files removed, and was this part of a cover-up to prevent them knowing the full truth about what happened?” he added.