Haemophilia is a blood disorder that affects people. Scotland’s chairman criticizes the former minister’s stance on the blood investigation.
The chairman of Haemophilia Scotland has slammed a former Scottish health minister for opposing an investigation into the tainted blood crisis as “patronizing.”
Bill Wright was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1986 and spent years fighting for an investigation, taking time off as his health deteriorated but eventually becoming the charity’s president.
In the 1970s and 1980s, tainted blood products infected thousands of patients across the UK with HIV and hepatitis C.
Around 2,400 people died in the greatest treatment disaster in NHS history, which is only now being investigated by the Infected Blood Inquiry.
On Thursday, Mr Wright told the committee that Scottish activists “had full intransigence within Westminster,” that they “weren’t getting anywhere in London,” and that their voices “weren’t being heard.”
“People were dying, already dying, people were in very poor health, they were starting to learn about the damage that hepatitis C was causing,” he said of a petition to the newly devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, adding, “People were dying, already dying, people were in very poor health, they were starting to learn about the damage that hepatitis C was causing.”
Mr Wright claimed that the only true need for appearing before the petitions committee was that he had spoken to the Scottish Government, but that then-Scottish health minister Susan Deacon “was screaming no, an absolute no” to the idea of an inquiry.
He did say, however, that protesters were “welcomed with open arms by that petitions committee, who then quite appropriately moved on the proposal to the Scottish Parliament’s health committee,” where they testified before “important persons.”
Mr Wright went on to say that he had never met Ms Deacon and that she had declined his pleas to meet her.
When asked about his “very significant reservations” about a departmental investigation rather than a thorough probe by inquiry counsel Sarah Fraser-Butlin, he said: “Well, it was civil servants looking at themselves grading their own homework… It was a pitiful attempt to discover the truth.”
When I was infected, I didn’t find out about the investigation until the late 1990s. (This is a brief piece.)