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Contaminated blood scandal: victim welcomes opposition leaders’ call for Hillsborough-style public inquiry

PUBLISHED: 13:34 09 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:50 09 July 2017

Bob Brennan has Hepatitis C from a contaminated blood transfusion.
: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017

Bob Brennan has Hepatitis C from a contaminated blood transfusion. : Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

A victim of the contaminated blood scandal has welcomed a joint call by six opposition political party leaders for a Hillsborough-style inquiry into what happened.

Bob Brennan has Hepatitis C from a contaminated blood transfusion. Photo
: Sonya Duncan
. Copyright: Archant 2017 Bob Brennan has Hepatitis C from a contaminated blood transfusion. Photo : Sonya Duncan . Copyright: Archant 2017

Thousands of people were given contaminated blood products by the NHS in a scandal which has killed at least 2,000 people and left many more suffering serious health conditions, such as hepatitis C or HIV.

In what has been described as one of the NHS’ worst scandals, blood products made from high-risk donors such as drug addicts, prisoners and prostitutes were given to patients around the world.

READ MORE: Story of Norfolk contaminated blood victim told on BBC One’s Panorama

READ MORE: Time is running out for victims of contaminated blood scandal

A letter signed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Liberal Democrats’ Tim Farron, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and Scottish National Party Westminster leader Ian Blackford, as well as Democratic Unionist Party House of Commons leader Nigel Dodds and Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts, has now been sent to prime minister Theresa May to “urge you to call a Hillsborough-style inquiry”.

The letter read: “We believe those affected have a right to know what went wrong; and why.

“Whenever public disasters of this kind take place, government has a fundamental duty to support those affected in getting the answers they need; to disclose everything they know; and to ensure that officials are called to account for their actions.

“We regret that for many decades the victims of the contaminated blood scandal have been denied this right.”

Bob Brennan, of Mill Road in Thompson, near Watton, is currently receiving care at the Priscilla Bacon Centre for Specialist Palliative Care in Norwich.

He was told he had hepatitis C five years ago, which has since developed into severe liver failure and cancer.

The formerly fit and healthy general manager learned he had contracted hepatitis C from a transfusion using contaminated blood for a damaged oesophagus at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, in 1988.

READ MORE: “I’m living with a death sentence”: Norfolk contaminated blood victim Bob Brennan, 64, tells his tragic story

He urged those battling for answers to “stay with this fight”.

He added: “It could’ve been sorted a long, long time ago.

“They took my life away from me and I haven’t had any apology. I feel let down by the government.

“It’s like Hillsborough. Twenty-six years they had to fight for it - people have just got to grab the bull by the horns because it needs to be done.”

The letter from the opposition leaders went on to say: “It has caused untold suffering to the loved ones of those affected, many of whom have been left devastated by loss.

“In terms of deaths caused, it is one of the worst peacetime disasters in our country’s history.

“The meagre efforts at investigating this scandal in the UK pale in comparison to those carried out in other countries – where we have seen fines, and even prosecutions, of the officials and companies held responsible.”

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