Haemophilia activists criticize Westminster’s handling of infected blood victims.

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Haemophilia activists criticize Westminster’s handling of infected blood victims.

Haemophilia groups from around the United Kingdom have criticized Westminster governments’ treatment of infected blood victims.

In the 1970s and 1980s, tainted blood products infected thousands of patients across the UK with HIV and hepatitis C.

Around 2,400 individuals perished in the worst treatment disaster in NHS history, which is currently the focus of the Infected Blood Inquiry.

In meetings of the Haemophilia Alliance, a UK-wide collaboration, Lynne Kelly of Haemophilia Wales discussed how she was fighting for national policy.

However, no Welsh haemophilia doctors attended the sessions, and those who did said, “That isn’t really our concern,” contradicting the attitude of Welsh clinicians.

I believe that the Welsh government had been briefed by Westminster and did not believe that a public enquiry was necessary.

“My cousin had recently died (in 2011), so obviously we’d lived through the experience of a family member dying,” she told the inquiry.

“I felt that all of the difficulties that I’d gathered from patients in Wales involving, obviously, a lack of financial support, a lack of access for hepatology monitoring, and there just wasn’t a desire for those issues to be handled at those meetings.

“I went as a Welsh delegate, and my impression was that they treated Wales as a minor matter, and that this ought to be addressed in Wales.

“People were dying, and they were trying to get to the meetings – they would travel miles and miles to get there, hoping that something would be done… We wouldn’t get an agenda, the minutes would never be circulated, and you’d be left off the distribution list.

“I just felt like I was viewed as a bit of a nuisance because I would present on the issues that were hurting people in Wales, but they would just move on to the next topic and say, ‘oh well, that’s a Welsh problem.’

“I would say,” says the speaker. (This is a brief piece.)

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