We were lied to, say victims of contaminated blood scandal

Victims of the contaminated blood scandal have said they were lied to, and condemned cover-ups and denials as “disgraceful”.

More than 30,000 people were infected with deadly viruses while they were receiving NHS care between the 1970s and the early 1990s.

She was diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease, a bleeding disorder, when she was eight months old, and found out she had been infected with hepatitis C when she was 19.

Ms Cooper said: “I think one of the key things for me, which I have seen in what I’ve read so far is the complete lack of transparency, the lack of candour, the lack of people taking account for actions that have harmed people, so decisions were made, people were harmed, but that was not accepted, that was hidden.

Rosamund Cooper with her brother Paul Batten in the 1980s (Handout/PA)

“It’s showing that that’s not the case, and that people were covering things up, denying things, hiding things from us, which is disgraceful. That never needs to happen again.”

Ms Cooper said patient safety was “put second to cost” in the “appalling” situation which spanned decades, adding: “That is the reason why we’ve been fighting all this time, all of my life as an infected person has been spent battling and I’m exhausted, and I feel like this finally, is somebody listening to what we’ve been through.”

Mark Ward said he was treated ‘terribly’ by health professionals (Handout/PA)

He called the report vindicating, telling PA: “Knowing that I’ve gone from being a troublemaker and conspiracy theorist and a liar to having a High Court judge say ‘you were right’, and now all those people out there who are on the wrong side of history, I shall be waiting for their apologies.

“They can come to me and us and say ‘we’re sorry’.”

Mr Ward, who is an LGBT ambassador for The Haemophilia Society, said prosecutions need to happen.

He told PA: “I think justice has to be seen to be done and justice comes in many different forms.

“Yes, there’s compensation. Yes, there should be an apology and I think it should be done properly, not just, you know, someone stand up and say, ‘Oh, we’re sorry’ because everyone could just say that.

“And they can’t be allowed to just walk by go ‘yeah, nice report’ and disappear into the sunset, there has to be justice.

“And the only way justice can be done is people see that they have been punished for what they did.”

Jason Evans, who started the Factor 8 campaign group in 2016, attended his first campaign meeting when he was aged one when his father, infected with HIV and hepatitis C after receiving the Factor VIII blood product, took him to meet their MP to seek advice on potential compensation.

The 34-year-old, from Coventry, has few memories of his father Jonathan Evans, who died when he was just four years old.

Mr Evans said the inquiry’s final report meant the “fight for truth is over” but that “no amount of truth” could help those who had suffered emotional trauma and physical illness.

Jason Evans with his father
Jason Evans with his father Jonathan (Jason Evans/PA)

Mr Evans said: “For me, the key finding that Sir Brian has been very clear about is a commercial Factor VIII products never should have been licenced for use, and if that was the case, it’s my profound belief, my own father wouldn’t have been infected with HIV, and neither would have hundreds of others and thousands more hepatitis C infections also would not have occurred, so it’s gone to show that this was avoidable.”

When asked how he thought his father would feel about the report, Mr Evans said: “Honestly, I think for those who were infected and are still alive, whilst today does bring an end to that search for answers, the physical damage is done.

“For me, it’s the emotional trauma that was suffered over all those years, but for people who suffered the horrendous physical conditions as a result of hepatitis C and HIV, I’m not sure.

“There’s no amount of truth that can help that.

“And if my dad was still here, I’m not sure. Honestly, I’m really not sure how much the truth helps at this long.”

He told PA: “I think there’ll be overwhelming sadness and despite the fact they’ve got it over the line this morning, it’s taken so many people to be injured, so many people to die and such a long time that it’s going to be difficult to live with.”

On his thoughts on whether the government will react to the report’s recommendations, Mr Collins said: “I think the government this time will react. I think to some extent they’ve built a rod for their own back, because in my view, rather stupidly over the past year, even though the indications were all there from the chair of this inquiry as to what should be done and how it should be done and when it should be done – they’ve literally done nothing.

“And what they say they’ve done when you examine it, you still find nothing.

“So I think the phrase that’s often been used (is) that they’ve been kicking the can down the road.

“I think they’ve run out of road. They’ve got to stop kicking the can down it and actually do something and I do hope and believe that they will this time.”

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