Families 'angry and sad' at blood inquiry report

A black and white picture from the 1970s of a young man holding a little boy
Rich Newton with his brother Mark, who was one of about 3,000 people to die after being given contaminated blood products [Rich Newton]

Families whose loved ones were given infected blood say they feel a mixture of emotions at the conclusions of an inquiry's report.

It found that authorities covered up the infected blood scandal after knowingly exposing victims to unacceptable risks and letting patients catch HIV and hepatitis.

Rich Newton, from Barnard Castle, in County Durham, lost his brother in 1989 and said he was "angry, hurt but also relieved" at the findings.

The government has said it accepts the "moral case" for compensation and interim pay-outs of £100,000 each have already been made to about 4,000 survivors and bereaved partners.

Mark Newton wearing a suit and with a moustache smiling at the camera
Mr Newton says doctors refused to put Aids down as the cause of death on his brother's death certificate [Rich Newton ]

Mr Newton's brother Mark was one of 30,000 people infected from 1970 to 1991 by contaminated blood products and transfusions.

He had haemophilia, a rare genetic condition which meant his blood did not clot properly.

In the 1970s, a new treatment was developed to replace the missing clotting agents, made from donated human blood plasma.

"Little did we know at the time, but this blood plasma was coming from American blood, some of which was contaminated," Mr Newton explained.

"We weren't told anything about how he became HIV positive, there was no support for him, there was no apology from doctors there was nothing, they just swept it under the carpet," he said.

"It's just intolerable that they did that."

Sheila Thubron is smiling to one side of the cameraera
Sheila Thubron was given contaminated blood just two weeks before her son was born in 1989 [Sheila Thubron]

Sheila Thubron, 72, from Springwell Village, Gateshead, was given a blood transfusion when she was pregnant in 1989.

"I was just so poorly, I didn't know what was wrong, and I just felt like I couldn't go on any more," she explained.

It took 18 years before she was told by NHS staff that she had contracted Hepatitis C.

"I was so angry because I was forgotten, and betrayed and overlooked for all of these years," Mrs Thubron said.

"I feel vindicated and relieved that the truth is finally out there, but it's bittersweet," she added.

The government said in a statement: "We are clear that justice needs to be done and swiftly which is why we have acted in amending the Victims and Prisoners Bill.

“This includes establishing a new body to deliver an Infected Blood Compensation Scheme and we will continue to listen carefully as we address this dreadful scandal."

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