MP’s files con­cern in in­fected blood cases

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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.”

Mike Ames­bury

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