June 16, 2024

UK PM apologies for institutional cover-up in infected blood scandal

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday apologised to thousands of people infected with contaminated blood in a decades-long scandal that a damning report concluded was covered up and largely could have been avoided.

More than 30,000 people were infected with viruses such as HIV and hepatitis after being given the tainted blood in Britain between the 1970s and early 1990s, the Infected Blood Inquiry concluded.

Victims included those needing blood transfusions for accidents and in surgery, and those suffering from blood disorders such as haemophilia who were treated with donated blood plasma products, as well as the partners of those infected.

Some 3,000 people died, and more will follow, in what has been described as the biggest treatment disaster in the eight-decade history of the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

“I am truly sorry,” Sunak told the House of Commons, calling the findings of the long-awaited report “a day of shame for the British state”.

“Time and again people in positions of power and trust had the chance to stop the transmission of those infections and failed to do so”, he added, promising “whatever it costs” to compensate victims.

The total figure is expected to be above £10 billion ($12 billion) when the government announces the package on Tuesday.

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