POLITICS

Department Of Health Cannot Be In Charge Of Contaminated Blood Inquiry, Says Labour MP

Diana Johnson has written to PM to say it would be 'against natural justice'.

17/07/2017 13:11 BST
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The Department of Health must not be allowed to lead a public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal, a Labour MP has warned.

Theresa May announced last week the government will order an investigation into the tragedy which claimed the lives of 2,400 people in the 1970s and 80s - mainly haemophiliacs - who were given blood infected with HIV and hepatitis. 

But Hull MP Diana Johnson - a longstanding campaigner on behalf of families affected - has written to the prime minister to say the Department of Health must not be put in charge of the inquiry, as there will be questions raised about its policy decisions.

“The department’s role in this scandal runs deeper than for virtually any other scandal for which we have had an inquiry,” she said.

“An inquiry into a transport disaster, for example, might rightly be instigated by the Department for Transport, but that department would not have played as direct a role in such a tragedy as the DH did with respect to contaminated blood.”

HuffPost UK
HuffPost UK
HuffPost UK

Johnson said many families affected by the tragedy are “naturally suspicious” of the department and to put those there in charge of any probe would be “against natural justice”.

She added: “These families have waited such a long time - this issue was first raised in the Commons more than 30 years ago.

“They have been given hope off the back of inquiries into other tragedies, including Hillsborough, but we must now see action.

“A proper timeline must be put in place and MPs must focus on ensuring the detail of what this investigation will look like is laid out and made clear.”

Carol Grayson, a widow who wrote a dissertation on the tragedy after her husband died as a result of it, told HuffPost UK she fears the NHS could see similar incidents in the future if services are privatised. 

No.10 has been asked to respond to the letter.