NHS contaminated blood was ‘criminal cover-up’ – Burnham – BBC News

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Media captionBurnham: ‘I wishes to refocus everybody on giving victims what they’ve never had – the truth’

A “criminal cover-up on an industrial scale” took place over the use of NHS polluted blood products in the 1970 s and 1980 s, former Health Secretary Andy Burnham has claimed.

More than 2,000 deaths have been linked to the scandal in which haemophiliacs and others were infected with hepatitis C and HIV from imported blood products.

Speaking in the Commons, the Labour MP told victims were “guinea pigs”.

Health minister Nicola Blackwood resisted calls for a fresh inquiry.

She said thousands of documents had been released by the Department of Health in relation to the scandal, while two reviews had already been carried out.

In 2015, the then Prime Minster David Cameron apologised to thousands of victims of the polluted blood scandal.

‘Deliberate cover-up’

A parliamentary report had detected around 7,500 patients were infected by imported blood products – contracting hepatitis C and HIV – the virus that can develop into Aids.

The UK imported furnishes of the clotting agent Factor VIII – some of which turned out to be infected. Much of the plasma used to build Factor VIII came from donors like prison inmates in the US, who sold their blood.

More than 2,000 UK patients have since succumbed as a result.

Now Mr Burnham is calling for a public “Hillsborough-style inquiry” – echoing calls already made by the Haemophilia Society and victims’ families.

In what was his final speech in the Commons – having announced he will not stand in the upcoming election – the MP for Leigh outlined evidence that he claimed amounted to “deliberate, provable acts of cover-up”.

He gave examples of inappropriate treatment given to patients, tests being done on people without their knowledge or consent, and results from such exams being withheld for several years.

He labelled these “criminal acts”, and compared campaigning by relatives of infected people to the efforts by families of Liverpool football fans crushed to demise in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989.

He said both cases “resulted in appalling negligence from public bodies” and involved “an orchestrated campaign to avoid the truth from being told”.

Mr Burnham told the Commons he will take his claims to the police if a new inquiry is not established before Parliament breaks for its summer recess in July.

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