Statement from the Contaminated Blood legal team at Collins Solicitors

The legal team representing over 500 victims and families of the Contaminated Blood Scandal, Collins Solicitors have published the below statement:

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Collins Solicitors Press Release 3rd November 2017

Ever since an inquiry into the Contaminated Blood Scandal was promised this summer, Collins Solicitors has opposed the involvement of the Department of Health. It has always been our position that the Department of Health is itself too involved in the scandal and would be unable to organise an impartial inquiry that would gain the trust of victims.

When we launched a group action against the Department of Health on behalf of those victims who are our clients, the Department of Health’s involvement clearly became untenable. We therefore welcome today’s announcement that oversight of the upcoming inquiry into the Contaminated Blood Scandal has been transferred to the Cabinet Office.

Collins Solicitors also welcome the announcement today that the inquiry will be a full statutory inquiry. We have argued since the start that the power to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath will be a vital component in the search for truth for the victims of the contaminated blood scandal and we consider this announcement to be a step closer to that truth.

Nevertheless, we consider it regrettable that no chair has yet been appointed, leading to further delays for the victims. Some of the victims of the contaminated blood scandal have been waiting longer than thirty years for the truth. It is easy for those not directly involved to forget that many of these victims, labouring under HIV, hepatitis and the life threatening complications of those diseases, die every year.

Time really is of the essence for the victims of this scandal. The fact that the consultation process was extended to nearly four months means that there are already some who have passed away, never to know the truth behind how they became infected with the disease that caused their death. We are dismayed that the Cabinet Office will spend nearly another two months analysing the consultation. We cannot see what the cabinet office can possibly analyse. The consultation was limited to what type of inquiry and who should sponsor it. Both of those questions have now been answered. The delaying tactics of this government are quite astonishing.

Collins Solicitors calls on the Cabinet Office to speedily appoint a chair who will then set the terms of reference for the inquiry in consultation with victims and their representatives, with the aim of minimising any further delay.

Des Collins
Senior Partner
Collins Solicitors
T) 01923 223 324

Danielle Holliday
Partner
Collins Solicitors
T) 01923 223 324