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Inquiry into Past NHS Treatment Disaster

Bereaved families of persons infected with deadly viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C decades back, will now get a chance to understand how. //

An independent inquiry is soon to be launched into the contracting of these deadly infections by almost 2000 hemophilia patients, via blood transfusions, in what is acknowledged as the biggest treatment blunder in the history of UK’s National Health Services.

The incident took place in the late 70s and early 80s where out of 4,670 hemophiliacs who received transfusions with donated blood and blood products and exposed to hepatitis C, 1,243 were also exposed to HIV.

Unfortunately, despite improvements in treatment for both viruses, only 2,552 patients with hepatitis C and just 361 with HIV are alive today.

Says Labor MP Lord Peter Archer, who is heading the inquiry: “The purpose of the inquiry is to unravel the facts, so far as we are able, and to point to the lessons that may be learnt.

“ Its impact will, however, depend crucially on the public perception of its value and we shall endeavor to make it a report worthy of high regard. Hopefully our findings may help to restore public confidence in the future treatment of patients.

"We trust it will also help those afflicted and bereaved to come to terms with the tragedy - knowing much more of how it came about”, he added.

The events, which took place between the early 1970s and the mid 1980s, have been described by fertility expert Lord Winston as "the worst treatment disaster in the history of the national health service".

Labor peer Lord Alf Morris, Britain's first minister for disabled people and the present president of the all-party parliamentary group on hemophilia, has been leading the campaign on the patients' behalf.

Hemophilia is a disorder where the blood takes longer time to clot due to the absence or limited amount of one of the proteins essential to clotting.

Former ways of treatment were the transfusions of blood or blood products from pooled blood plasma collections of various donors.

Due the risks of transmission of blood -borne viruses, recent methods are the use of artificially created such proteins.

The Hemophilia Society of UK has welcomed the inquiry.

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