Inquiry report delayed to May 2024
Written by Jessica Bomford, January 17, 2024
Sir Brian Langstaff, chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, has apologised for delaying the publication of his main report for a second time due to the ‘sheer scale and seriousness’ of the criticisms it contains.
Sir Brian said he was ‘acutely aware’ of the need for the report to be available as soon as possible but said more time was required to do justice to what has happened. He added that his ‘principal recommendation remains that a compensation scheme should be set up with urgency’. There should be ‘no doubt’, he said, about the serious nature of the failings that led to ‘catastrophic loss of life and compounded suffering’.
The inquiry’s main report will now be published on Monday, 20 May at Church House in Westminster, London, where its opening commemoration event took place in September 2018. You can register for a place here until January 28. A ballot system will be used if places are oversubscribed.
Anger at government inaction
Kate Burt, Chief Executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: ‘We are very disappointed that the inquiry’s report will not be published until May. This unexpected hold up will fuel anger and concern that the government will use the delay to avoid paying full compensation to those infected and affected by this terrible scandal.
The psychological damage caused by this appalling period of political limbo and inaction is compounding the harm already done to the people at the centre of this treatment disaster. We urge the government to act immediately to address this historic injustice by putting a compensation scheme in place as soon as possible.’
The inquiry had been due to publish this report in Autumn 2023, which was then pushed back until March 2024, but today it announced that still more time was needed to finalise it.
Still waiting for compensation scheme
Sir Brian has already published two interim reports, one recommending interim payments, which the government accepted, and the second, published in April 2023, recommending that a full compensation scheme should be up and running by the end of 2023. The report outlined who should be eligible and how compensation payments could be calculated, but did not set out how guidelines on the amounts people could expect to receive. So far the government has failed to respond to this report, saying that it will wait until the inquiry’s main report is published before it comments on previous recommendations.
In a separate development, the Victims and Prisoners Bill was amended in December 2023 to include a clause that would force the government to set up a compensation scheme for people infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products within three months of it becoming law. The Committee Stage of the bill runs from 24 January until 7 February.
New psychological support service
In December the government also announced that a bespoke psychological support service for England would go live in early summer 2024. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland already have this service. We will continue to press for this service to be available as soon as possible as we know the current delay and uncertainty is causing great anxiety and stress to many of our members. Information on how to find psychological support is available here.
Read the inquiry’s announcement about the publication of its main report here.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact our Public Inquiry Team at [email protected].