Contaminated blood ‘cover-up’ revealed in Cabinet papers
Sky News obtains a Thatcher Government minister’s letters trying to shake off responsibility for the scandal.
By Paul Kelso, Health Correspondent – Exclusive
Government attempts to avoid responsibility for the contaminated blood scandal that caused the deaths of more than 2,400 people from AIDS and Hepatitis C can be revealed for the first time by Sky News.
Previously unseen Cabinet documents show senior ministers in the 1987 Conservative Government pursued a deliberate policy of not accepting any responsibility for allowing contaminated blood products to be given to haemophiliacs.
The papers also show ministers tried to limit the Government’s financial liability to victims – despite privately acknowledging it could not “refute convincingly” the allegation that it was at fault.
In the 1970s and 1980s more than 4,000 British haemophiliacs were given blood products contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C.
Because the UK was not self-sufficient in blood products the substance – called Factor VIII – was imported from the United States, where it had been manufactured with blood drawn from multiple donors.
These included prisoners, habitual drug users and sex workers who had been paid for their blood.
Campaigners say the cabinet papers amount to evidence of a cover-up.
SKY News : 25th October 2017 – Cabinet Papers Reveal a Cover-up
Adam Boulton is joined by SKY News Health Correspondent Paul Kelso who explains the importance of recently discovered Cabinet Papers showing senior ministers in the 1987 Conservative Government, pursued a deliberate policy of not accepting any responsibility for allowing contaminated blood products to be given to Haemophiliacs – a cover-up on and industrial scale…
SKY News : 25th October 2017 – Lord David Owen and Andy Burnham
Reaction to today’s previously unseen Cabinet documents from 1987 from former health secretary Lord David Owen and former MP for Leigh, Andy Burnham.
Former Labour health secretary Andy Burnham, now metro mayor for Manchester, told Sky News the documents show “attempts to deny victims support, truth and justice went to the very top of Government.”
Lord Owen, who as health secretary in the 1970’s proposed Britain should be self-sufficient in blood products, a policy which if followed may have avoided thousands of deaths, said the papers revealed the Government had “clear responsibility and liability”.
The new details are contained in a cabinet memo from 1987, written by the then Conservative Secretary of State for Social Security John Moore.
The document was unearthed by campaigner Jason Evans, whose father Jonathan was infected with both HIV and Hepatitis C and died in 1993, when his son was four.
The memo is a note of a proposal put to the Cabinet Home and Social Affairs Committee sub-committee on AIDS, a body that included some of the most high-profile ministers of the Margaret Thatcher Government including Willie Whitelaw, Norman Fowler, Douglas Hurd, Kenneth Clarke and future Prime Minister John Major.
The meeting was convened to discuss the fall-out from the unfolding contaminated blood scandal on November 4, 1987, a day before the Haemophilia society was due to lobby MPs in Parliament.
SKY News : 25th October 2017 – with Lynne Featherstone MP
Baroness Lynne Featherstone’s nephew, a Haemophiliac, was infected with Hepatitis C after been given contaminated Factor VIII – He tragically passed away at just 35 years of age.
House of Commons : Wednesday 25th October 2017 – Point of Order
House of Commons : Wednesday 25th October 2017
Point of Order from Diana Johnson MP (Hull North)
Huge thanks to Tainted Blood for the media coverage updates