The Infected Blood Inquiry
The Infected Blood Inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal was set up following an announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017. In a statement to Parliament, Mrs May described the scandal as ‘an appalling tragedy which should simply never have happened’.
This is a statutory inquiry which means it has the power to compel witnesses to attend and to ask for documents to be produced. Failure to comply could result in criminal sanctions. Evidence is given on oath. The inquiry is sponsored by the Cabinet Office.
In February 2018 it was announced that Sir Brian Langstaff, a former High Court judge, would chair the inquiry. Sir Brian said: “Providing infected blood and plasma products to patients truly deserves to be called a major scandal. I intend through this inquiry to be able to provide both some well-needed answers to the victims and their families and recommend steps to ensure that its like will never happen again.”
The inquiry officially got underway on 2 July 2018, following the announcement of its terms of reference, which sets out what and who will be investigated.
Preliminary hearings took place in London in September 2018, which began with a moving commemoration service to acknowledge the thousands of people who died as a result of treatment using contaminated blood and blood products.
The Infected Blood Inquiry started to hear evidence in public from those infected and affected in April 2019. Hearings took place across the UK in Belfast, Leeds, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. Evidence was heard until December 2022, with final oral submissions taking place until the last day of the inquiry, on 3 February 2023.
Written evidence, including millions of documents, continues to be scrutinised by the inquiry team. The inquiry is expected to publish its final report in autumn 2023.
Click here for the latest information about the inquiry’s timetable for public hearings.