Jesmond campaigner 'vindicated' by Infected Blood report that shows how victims fought for justice

Carol Grayson, from Jesmond
Carol Grayson, from Jesmond -Credit:Craig Connor/ChronicleLive

Campaigning widow Carol Grayson says she has been vindicated after decades of campaigning on the contaminated blood scandal.

Carol, whose husband Peter died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C through treatment for his haemophilia, is among campaigners whose work over years, raising questions and digging up documents, is referenced repeatedly in Sir Brian Langstaff’s final report from the independent public Infected Blood Inquiry. Sir Brian has spent more than five years seeking to get to the truth of the "NHS's biggest treatment disaster".

In his report, delivered on Monday and laying bare what he called a "catalogue of failings", Sir Brian pointed to work done by those infected and affected by the scandal. This included highlighting how Haemophilia Action UK - the group Carol and husband Peter set up - "actively highlighted" issues in the Government's response to the scandal.

The contaminated blood scandal saw upwards of 30,000 people receive tainted blood or blood products on the NHS. More than 3,000 people have died because those blood products contained lethal viruses.

Jesmond’s Carol has spent decades campaigning. The report highlights work Haemophilia Action UK and the Manor House Group did from the 1990s. It states these were "were two self-organised groups which actively highlighted some of the issues" and cites examples including when Carol wrote to then minister Yvette Cooper and raised questions about blood policy.

-Credit:Newcastle Chronicle
-Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

Carol's letter triggered what became known as the "self-sufficiency report" - this was produced but then delayed, and Sir Brian has found that someone other than the original author altered its conclusions before it was eventually published four years later. He said campaigners like Carol and Haydn Lewis "may not have known the process by which the Self-Sufficiency Report was produced, but they knew it did not represent the full truth".

Sir Brian also begins a section of commentary in his report by saying how Carol had pushed for a public inquiry in 2000. He adds: "[Carol] told the Inquiry in her oral evidence about the importance of people knowing the truth, knowing what had happened to them, knowing why it had happened to them, knowing what their doctors’ participation, knowledge, involvement had been."

He also highlights how attempts to "hide the truth" were a "disservice to campaigners, who, despite the challenges of ill health and grief" picked apart the official - misleading - accounts of what had happened. Carol completed a dissertation studying how the Government had dealt with self-sufficiency in its blood supply that went on to win the Michael Young Prize.

Carol told ChronicleLive: "I'm delighted to be vindicated by this report today. Going back, we went to the GMC, we went to the police. We went to them with our concerns over the decades. It's really important that all these issues are in the report."

She said that she was pleased the work of campaigners such as Colette Wintle and the late Peter Mossman was recognised - and shared her sadness that many were not alive to see justice.

Carol added: "The first report about my family in the press was in 1987. We have never stopped. And we have taken a great deal of abuse for our campaigning."

The Prime Minister is expected to apologise in the House of Commons on Monday evening, before Tuesday is expected to see an announcement about compensation.