Report Reveals NHS Knowingly Infected Thousands with Contaminated Blood

( – The Infected Blood Inquiry has revealed that the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) infected 30,000 patients with blood contaminated by HIV and hepatitis, leading to the deaths of 3,000 so far. More are expected to die in the future as a direct result of the contamination.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apologized and called it a “day of shame for the British state.” Opposition leader Sir Kier Starmer also offered apologies to the victims of the scandal. Sunak has promised to pay those affected compensation, with approximately $12.7 billion (£10 billion) earmarked for the purpose. The inquiry was first announced by then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017 after years of mounting demand for an investigation. By the time the inquiry began, some of the victims and key players in the scandal had died or were too frail to assist investigators.

The inquiry found that from the 1970’s onwards the state-run healthcare system repeatedly took grave risks in how it managed blood transfusions. The NHS continued to source blood from high-risk countries, such as the U.S., where drug addicts and prisoners were paid to donate blood. High-risk populations in the UK were also used as a source for blood donations. Blood was not heat-treated until the end of 1985, even though heat treatment was understood to be an effective method of HIV elimination from blood sources from 1982. The NHS also failed to test blood donations for Hepatitis throughout the 1970s and later.

The Inquiry Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, expressed horror at the decision-making and consequent cover-ups by those in the NHS and in several governments. He described how great lengths had been taken to hide the truth from the authorities and the victims, including the destruction of important documents. The inquiry found that among the victims were 380 children infected with HIV after being treated for bleeding disorders. Many died before reaching adulthood.

Hundreds of adults were also infected with HIV and nearly 30,000 with Hepatitis C. The report recommends that anybody given a blood transfusion in the UK before 1996 should be tested for the disease, as many more could be living with it while unaware.

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