Blood money can’t bring back the dead amid contamination scandal

Demonstrators hold placards reading message related to the NHS infected blood scandal
People have been campaigning for justice for people affected by the blood scandal for years -Credit:AFP via Getty Images

We’ll never know exactly how many Scots had their lives ruined by the contaminated blood scandal.

More than 30,000 people across the UK were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after being given tainted NHS blood products and an estimated 3000 were living in Scotland. Many had received transfusions on the NHS while others were being treated for haemophilia. Hundreds have died.

As late as 1984, Scotland’s blood transfusion service was still regularly sourcing donations from overseas sources known to present a major risk. Victims must now hope the Langstaff report will finally give them justice.

The five-year investigation examined the scandal across the UK and found a catalogue of failures by the NHS and governments. It also accused doctors, ministers and the NHS of trying to cover-up errors.

The scandal predates the devolution era but Scots victims have already been let down by Holyrood. We were the first part of the UK to commission a public inquiry into infected blood as it was a key election pledge of the SNP government when it came to power in 2007.

But the Penrose inquiry lacked full statutory powers and after six years of investigation the report made just one minor recommendation. Thousands of Scots were let down by those tasked with treating them on the NHS and a second time by a weak and pointless inquiry.

Scots victims cannot be let down for a third time. Justice must now be done. Those responsible cannot be let off with a slap on the wrist. There should be criminal cases brought against wrong-doers.

More importantly, there must be reasonable compensation for those left facing a lifetime of illness. Close family of those who have died waiting for justice must also be included in any compensation scheme.

It will be expensive for the UK and Scottish Governments with £10billion expected to be the total bill. But for those whose lives have been ruined, no amount of money will truly reflect the damage done.

Magic moments

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The evening is a rare opportunity to reward ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. We saw the lifesavers and fundraisers, we highlighted the brave and the bold and gave a platform to those doing that little bit extra in their communities.

Sprinkle in a wee bit of celebrity magic and it makes for an unforgettable night. Well done to everybody who took part. You are all the Pride of Scotland.

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