LONDON, July 11 (Reuters) - Britain will hold a public inquiry into contaminated blood supplied to patients in the state-run National Health Service which killed at least 2,400 people, the government said on Tuesday.
During the 1970s and 1980s, blood products supplied to the NHS was contaminated with viruses such as HIV or hepatitis C and infected thousands of people with haemophilia or other bleeding disorders.
There would be a consultation with families of victims to decide what form the “wide-ranging” inquiry would take, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said.
A report by lawmakers in 2015 said the Department of Health estimated that more than 30,000 people might have been infected with hepatitis C between 1970 and 1991 but just 6,000 had been identified. A further 1,500 were infected with HIV between 1978 and 1985.
The inquiry comes after leaders from all of Britain’s main political parties, except the ruling Conservatives, wrote a joint letter to May demanding an investigation into the issue.
“For decades people with bleeding disorders and their families have sought the truth,” said Liz Carroll, Chief Executive of The Haemophilia Society.
“Instead, they were told by the government that no mistakes were made while it repeatedly refused to acknowledge evidence of negligence and a subsequent cover up. Finally, they will have the chance to see justice.” (Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Pritha Sarkar)