SPECIAL FOR BRIGHTON ARGUS Mark Ward outside the Houses of Parliament in London today and meeting Brighton MP Caroline Lucas. PRESS ASSOCIATION Wednesday March 25 2015. See PA story. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA..
A HAEMOPHILIAC infected with HIV and hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood says he is not surprised to hear reports about Government attempts to avoid responsibility for the scandal.
Mark Ward, 48, from Peacehaven, was one of thousands of haemophiliacs across the UK infected during the 1970s and 1980s.
Mr Ward was diagnosed with haemophilia when he was 14 and began his treatment the same year, receiving various blood products through the NHS.
He was infected at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
The blood product used was Factor VIII and was imported from the US.
However it emerged it had come from high-risk donors such as prostitutes and prisoners who had been paid to provide it.
More than 2,400 people are estimated to have died in what has been called the “biggest scandal in NHS history”.
A national news report has unveiled Cabinet documents published through a Freedom of Information request.
It is reported they show senior ministers in the 1987 Government followed a policy of not accepting any responsibility for allowing contaminated blood products to be given to haemophiliacs.
The papers also show attempts were made to limit the Government’s financial liability to victims.
The details are in a Cabinet memo written by the then Conservative Secretary of State for Social Security John Moore.
Mr Ward, who is medically retired after a career working for British Airways, said: “I am not at all surprised to hear about this.
“The Department of Health was in charge of putting information out into the public domain but only those which it felt was relevant.
“We needed to see all documentation from that period.”
Mr Ward is one of about 500 surviving victims and relatives of those who have died given leave by the High Court to launch legal action against the Department of Health.
Campaigners are waiting for details of a public inquiry into the scandal, which has been promised by Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Department of Health said it could not comment on the actions of former governments or ministers but the infected blood scandal was an “appalling tragedy” which should not have happened.
It said the nature of the inquiry and when it would go ahead would be announced in due course.
Source: The Argus