Hundreds of people with haemophilia in England and Wales could have avoided infection from HIV and hepatitis if officials had accepted help from Scotland, newly released documents suggest.
A letter dated January 1990 said Scotland’s blood transfusion service could have supplied the NHS in England and Wales with the blood product factor VIII, but officials rejected the offer repeatedly.
Large volumes of factor VIII were imported from the US instead, but it was far more contaminated with the HIV and hepatitis C viruses because US supplies often came from infected prison inmates, sex workers and drug addicts who were paid to give blood but not screened.
The death of scores of people with haemophilia and blood transfusion patients and the infection of thousands of others across the UK in the contaminated blood scandal has been described as the worst health disaster to hit the NHS.
The latest document was released under the Freedom of Information Act to campaigner Jason Evans, whose father died in 1993 having contracted hepatitis and HIV. In it, Prof John Cash, a former director of the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service, said the decision not to use Scotland's spare capacity to produce Factor VIII for England was "a grave error of judgement".
Source: The Guardian, 3 January 2020
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