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In the News

What is the contaminated blood scandal?

Liz Blamire

2nd August 2022

Around 3,000 people have died having contracted HIV or hepatitis C through blood product treatments received through the NHS in the 1970s and 80s. It is thought that as many as 30,000 people were infected through blood product use during this period but exact figures are unknown.

People living with blood disorders such as haemophilia, require regular treatment to help their blood to clot. In the 1970s and 1980s these treatments were made from donated human blood. Others that were thought to be exposed to this scandal were people receiving blood transfusions after large blood loss, such as can sometimes happen after childbirth.

At the time, blood was not screened prior to use and heat treatment of blood to kill viruses was not done until well into the 1980s after it was discovered that people were being infected through blood products. It was not until 1991 that routine screening of all blood prior to use was introduced.

Over the years there have been attempts by the government to financially support victims of this scandal without admitting any liability. However, the victims and their families have long felt the scandal was covered up and the financial support fell short of what was required and owed. In 2019 a public inquiry was launched into the scandal and this has resulted in a recommendation that every victim receives a provisional sum of £100,000 compensation. The government have this week said they will 'urgently review' this recommendation.

Read the latest in this article by the BBC - Ex-health secretaries call for urgent blood scandal pay-outs.

Although recorded in 2019, this special Sky News report offers an insight into the experiences of the victims of this scandal.

Liz Blamire

Liz is the current tutor2u subject lead for Health and Social Care. She is a former NHS midwife, who has worked in community, birth centre and acute hospital settings. Liz is an SSAT Accredited Lead Practitioner, who has taught Health and Social Care in FE and secondary schools, where she was a successful HOD. Liz is an experienced senior examiner and author.

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