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Jonathan Djanogly welcomes inquiry into infected NHS-supplied blood tragedy

11th July 2017

Jonathan Djanogly welcomes the announcement of an independent public inquiry into the tragedy of infected NHS-supplied blood and blood products. He calls for urgency and for children of victims and wider families to be fully included.

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con)

Welcome to your place, Madam Deputy Speaker, and thank you for squeezing me in at the end of the debate.

For the many reasons explained in the many excellent speeches from hon. Members on both sides of the House, I have been really impressed and pleased that the Government have thought this issue through afresh, which is significant, given the previous inquiries and many debates on it. The apology given by the Minister today was an important step, which will be appreciated by the victims.

I note what the Minister said on the need to consult on the form of the inquiry. Given the numerous positions on that issue alone, he has made the right decision to ​engage with the affected groups. However, I hope that an element of urgency will now be forced into this process to move things forward, and that we think always about the victims and how they have been waiting so long.

I hope the inquiry will look into the decision to acquire these products in the first place and into who was responsible—that is, at the period before anyone in the UK became infected.

This is a tragic story from start to finish. I acknowledge the persistence and total commitment of my affected constituents and those involved in the wider campaign to seek the truth. It is due to them that we are here today, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) on leading the all-party group and on calling this debate.

We must acknowledge that there are variations in the interpretation of the facts and history of this scandal. One of my constituents, Tony Farrugia, feels that evidence from his infected father’s medical notes—namely, a letter—was removed from them. The letter was noted in the 1991 HIV litigation, but has been removed since. When my constituent received the notes, the letter was missing, and his attempts to retrieve it from the Department of Health have failed. The letter states that his father was given a bad batch of F8 in 1980, and that was reported on on 7 June 1983. However, surprisingly, his father was not told until February 1985—nearly two years later.

I do not know the answers to those questions, and I do not believe that my constituent knows all the answers, but it seems to me from discussions with my constituents, and from the limited documentation I have seen, that there was a series of horrific mistakes, leading to a series of unimaginable consequences. That makes it really important that we get to the truth of what happened.

Efforts to deal with this issue to date—and we need to recognise that there have been a number—simply have not satisfied the people concerned, or many of them at least. The point is that many people affected by this tragedy—especially children and wider family members—have not been offered compensation. In any event, they do not feel that there will ever be closure until the full facts are known and they themselves are included in the process.

I do appreciate that the Government feel there has been proper disclosure of the information they have, but the fact remains that there is a clear disconnect between the various parties on this issue. As ever with such events, it is not just what happens between the various parties where one can see fault, but in the lack ​of information afterwards. That not only can make the original situation worse, but is immensely frustrating for the victims’ families.

As has been explained to me by my constituents Tony Farrugia and Chris Smith, who are members of the Fatherless Generation action group, this is a scandal of epic proportions, and I look forward to seeing continued progress on it.

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Earlier intervention in the same debate

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con)

The right hon. Gentleman is making a powerful case, and he has just mentioned a point that I was going to make. Many of the people who were badly affected have not been catered for to date. They include constituents of mine whose father was infected and who died. They ended up in a children’s home and their lives have been totally devastated, yet they are not within this process. They should be.

David Hanson

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. The constituents who have approached me are concerned about what will happen to their children in the event of their death. They are concerned about the lack of insurance and the costs as a whole. This worry has been mentioned already, but in one case the records relating to the time of the infection have been lost by the state so some people may not be able hold anyone liable ​because the records have simply disappeared. I hope that the inquiry looks in detail at that those challenges.

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