Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Bloody Disgrace

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Bloody Disgrace

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH GRAHAM Reporter @HannahGraham21

BRITAIN'S bad blood scandal has taken a new twist with an admission in Parliament that victims were "guinea pigs" and evidence was covered up.

Labour's Andy Burnham said "criminal acts" had taken place, and said the scandal has "parallels" with the Hillsborough tragedy as both "resulted in appalling negligence from public bodies" and involved "an orchestrated campaign to prevent the truth from being told".

Carol Grayson, from Jesmond, Newcastle, lost her haemophiliac husband Peter Longstaff in 2005 after he contracted HIV and hepatitis C from infected NHS blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

It has been called the biggest treatment disaster in NHS history, and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds, many of whom had been haemophiliac patients, like Mr Longstaff, and Ms Grayson's brotherin-law Stephen, who also died.

Ms Grayson was instrumental in bringing it to light.

The widow's MA thesis at Sunderland University on the global blood trade won a prestigious research award after she traced a trail to infected donors from Arkansas prisons.

It seemed the contaminated blood came from the US where donors, including drug users and prison inmates, were paid.

But while then-Prime Minister David Cameron issued an apology in 2015, no liability has been admitted for the deaths and compensation has not been paid to the victims. In Parliament during an adjournment debate, Mr Burnham demanded the Government carry out a fresh public inquiry, or he would push for a criminal investigation.

Ms Grayson welcomed Mr Burnham's words, but said they should have come sooner - she says she's been aware of the allegations since 1994, and contacted Mr Burnham about the issue when he was Health Secretary.

She said: "I'm pleased Andy has brought this up but I'm deeply disappointed that this wasn't done 23 years ago.

"The effect this has had on families, to campaign for this long, it means you can't grieve, you are in a permanent state of anxiety and depression because you can't move on.

"In my last hour with my husband, I promised him I wouldn't stop. …

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