Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘Day of shame…’ : Rishi Sunak issues ‘unequivocal apology’ for UK’s historic infected blood scandal – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued an apology following allegations of a cover-up by the National Health Service (NHS) in a public inquiry report presented to the government.
The scandal revolves around the infection of over 30,000 individuals with life-threatening viruses, including HIV and Hepatitis C, while under the care of the NHS between the 1970s and 1990s.Tragically, more than 3,000 of these patients died.
“This is a day of shame for the British state, The result of this inquiry should shake our nation to its core,” Sunak told the British parliament.
He told the MPs, “I want to make a wholehearted and unequivocal apology for this terrible injustice,” and vowed to pay “whatever it costs” to make amends for the victims and their families.
“I want to make a wholehearted and unequivocal apology for this terrible injustice,” he told MPs, promising to pay “whatever it costs” to compensate those affected and the families of victims who died.
At the heart of the scandal lies the use of contaminated batches of Factor VIII, a crucial blood clotting protein that haemophiliacs are unable to produce naturally. These tainted batches were imported from the United States and widely administered to patients during the aforementioned period. The infections occurred due to the lack of testing for HIV/AIDS until 1986 and Hepatitis C until 1991 in the United Kingdom.
“The scale of what happened is horrifying. The most accurate estimate is that more than 3,000 deaths are attributable to infected blood, blood products and tissue,” notes Langstaff in his report following a five-year investigation.
Langstaff’s report also addresses the question of a cover-up, stating, “Standing back, and viewing the response of the NHS and of government, the answer to the question ‘was there a cover up?’ is that there has been. Not in the sense of a handful of people plotting in an orchestrated conspiracy to mislead, but in a way that was more subtle, more pervasive and more chilling in its implications. To save face and to save expense, there has been a hiding of much of the truth.”
The extensive 2,527-page, seven-volume document delves into the immense scale of the scandal and presents a series of recommendations. These include the swift implementation of a compensation scheme for those directly affected and those who have lost loved ones as a result of this tragedy.
(With inputs from agencies)

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