MP’s files concern in infected blood cases
EAST Runcorn MP Mike Amesbury has accused the Cabinet Office of failing to ‘swiftly’ tell departments not to destroy files as he pressed for answers over the infected blood scandal.
Mr Amesbury, Weaver Vale, said patients’ confidence in Government had also been ‘undermined by the fiasco’ of obtaining legal aid.
He made the comments as he asked cabinet office minister David Lidington what assessment he had made into the inquiry’s progress.
A public probe is under way into the scandal examining why thousands of medical patients received blood products contaminated with hepatitis and HIV in the 1970s and 1980s.
At the Infected Blood Inquiry’s launch in London in September, chairman and retired judge Sir Brian Langstaff said the total number affected could reach 25,000 victims.
This would mean that on average, a population of Halton’s size would have about 48 patients who had suffered effects of contaminated blood.
Mr Lidington said the inquiry had completed its preliminary hearings and formal public hearings are due to start at the end of April, with no relevant records destroyed.
Public meetings are to take place at 18 UK locations before then, for anyone affected to provide their views.
Mr Lidington said the inquiry has appointed 1,289 core participants, of whom 1,272 have either been infected or affected by contaminated blood.
He said: “As far as ● legal aid is concerned, more than £250,000 has been provided to those affected by this scandal to help them pay for legal representation.
“As regards the other matter that the Hon Gentleman mentioned, this was an honest mistake caused by an administrative error.
“We explained that in full in the form of a written statement to the House and apologised to the inquiry as soon as it was discovered.
“All departments, other than the Legal Aid Agency and Courts And Tribunals Service, have now confirmed that no relevant records were destroyed during the relevant period.”