New Infected Blood Inquiry minister urged to take action

Written by Jessica Bomford, May 6, 2020

The Haemophilia Society has told the new minister with responsibility for the Infected Blood Inquiry that action must be taken to provide better financial and mental health support.

Penny Mordaunt, the Paymaster General, has become the fourth minister to oversee the progress of the Infected Blood Inquiry since it was announced in 2017.

In a letter to Ms Mordaunt today, Clive Smith, chair of The Society, listed some of the urgent issues that should be at the top of her in-tray. These include:

  • funding long-term, specialist psychological support
  • ensuring parity between all UK infected blood support schemes
  • including bereaved children and parents in these schemes
  • beginning a framework for compensation, pending the outcome of the inquiry

Clive expressed his frustration at the lack of contact from Ms Mordaunt’s department, the Cabinet Office, since a meeting in January 2020 between her predecessor, Oliver Dowden, Nadine Dorries, who then was minister for public safety, suicide prevention and mental health, and campaigners. He said meetings between campaigners and Government ministers appeared to be little more than publicity stunts.

Urging Ms Mordaunt to take meaningful steps towards resolving the issues raised, Clive said: “Action can be taken now that will improve the lives of those infected and affected. I, along with our members, hope you will be the minister who not only listens, but acts.”

Since the meeting in January The Society has written to Ms Dorries twice, requesting action on improved psychological support and, recently, clarification on Government advice over whether people with HIV should be shielded during the COVID-19 crisis. She has not responded to either letter.

In a separate letter to Ms Dorries also sent today, Clive said he was frustrated at her “complete lack of political engagement” with those campaigning on behalf of people infected and affected by the contaminated blood scandal. He asked her to respond to the legitimate concerns raised in both letters.

A copy of the letter sent to Ms Dorries on 14 April 2020 about HIV shielding can be found here.

A copy of the letter sent to Ms Dorries on 4 March 2020 about psychological support can be found here.