Thousands of key blood scandal documents falsely labelled “unrelated” to Inquiry by Government

Investigations by Factor 8 have revealed that documents, estimated to be in the thousands, have been falsely branded as being "unrelated or unlikely to be relevant" to the Infected Blood Inquiry by Government Civil Servants. 

Back in February this year we broke the news of how an audit was undertaken within the Department of Health & Social care by the GIAA (Government Internal Audit Agency) which found that almost a thousand files relating to the contaminated blood scandal had been "checked out" by staff and never returned.

Further analysis of that audit by Factor 8 led to more Freedom of Information requests relating to a part of the GIAA report which states “we found 139 files likely to be directly relevant to the Inquiry; 363 which were potentially relevant or tangentially related; and the remaining 3,022 files were identified as being unrelated or unlikely to be relevant”.

We later obtained a list of the 3,022 files marked as unrelated only to discover the list contains what is highly likely to be key evidence. Files deemed unrelated to the Inquiry by the Government include papers on The Haemophilia Society dating back to 1987, a file titled “Haemophilia, CJD & Blood Products” and a file called “AntiHaemopholic Factor (Koate)”. Koate being one of the infected Factor VIII products that was imported by the Department of Health in the 1970s and 1980s.

In total, Factor 8 has identified at least fifty files so far which have been falsely labelled.

Jason Evans who made the findings said:

The concern here is that by falsely labelling files in this way, intentionally or not, key evidence could evade the Inquiry. The Rule 9 requests for information I have seen from the Inquiry to various bodies generally contain wording to the effect of asking for "the retention and provision of relevant information" and so by incorrectly marking material as "unrelated or unlikely to be relevant", Government departments could withhold or even destroy relevant material.

Factor 8 will today be informing the Infected Blood Inquiry of these findings and we are happy to expand in detail on the matter by way of a witness statement to the Inquiry.

We contacted both the Government Internal Audit Agency and the Department of Health & Social Care for comment before publishing this article.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:

“We are committed to being open and transparent with the inquiry and have waived the usual legal privileges to assist the process.

“We have already sent thousands of documents to the inquiry and will continue to send more when necessary.”

Whilst the GIAA has acknowledged our contact, they have supplied no comment for publication at the time of writing.

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