The Haemophilia Society was invited to a meeting hosted by the Department of Health (DH) to discuss the remit and powers of the inquiry in to contaminated blood and blood products but has refused to attend.
In reply to the invite Liz Carroll, Chief Executive of the Haemophilia Society, wrote “It is impossible for the Haemophilia Society to attend a meeting where the Department of Health are involved in the discussion, decisions or setting of the remit of the inquiry. As a membership charity, we listen to our members, and although we are very pleased the inquiry is to take place and are keen to be involved, we must listen to our members.”
“We know that our members are horrified that the Department of Health might be involved in any way in the discussions about the remit of the inquiry, whether the decision is made elsewhere or not, this meeting is DH organised with DH staff and minister present. I am sure you can understand the perspective of those infected. The key decisions about the purchase, production and treatment for people with bleeding disorders and blood safety were taken by DH officials and ministers. There is no reasonable argument for the same department that took these decisions to be involved in decisions about the inquiry. The whole inquiry will be seen by the affected community as biased, unfair and damaging.”
“It is essential that time is taken to get the type and remit of the inquiry right, to rush this will lead to flawed outcomes and another inquiry that is dammed by the affected community. The Haemophilia Society will not attend a meeting to discuss the inquiry until we have confirmation from Government that the DH will not be involved in deciding the powers or remit of the inquiry.”
“The affected community, campaigners and The Haemophilia Society will also need reasonable notice to enable us to prepare, research and consult on how the inquiry should be conducted as this is key to a successful and comprehensive review of all the evidence. Only this will enable the affected community to be part of the decision making, and ensure the creation of an inquiry they can have faith in.”