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Found 136 results
  1. News Article
    The true scale of the number of medical trials using infected blood products on children in the 1970s and 80s has been revealed by documents seen by BBC News. They reveal a secret world of unsafe clinical testing involving children in the UK, as doctors placed research goals ahead of patients' needs. They continued for more than 15 years, involved hundreds of people, and infected most with hepatitis C and HIV. The trials involved children with blood clotting disorders, when families had often not consented to them taking part. The majority of the children who enrolled are now dead. Documents also show that doctors in haemophilia centres across the country used blood products, even though they were widely known as likely to be contaminated. Luke O'Shea-Phillips, 42, has mild haemophilia - a blood clotting disorder that means he bruises and bleeds more easily than most. He caught the potentially lethal viral infection hepatitis C while being treated at the Middlesex Hospital, in central London, which was administered because of a small cut to his mouth, aged three, in 1985. Documents seen by the BBC suggest he was deliberately given the blood product - which his doctor knew might have been infected - so he could be enrolled in a clinical trial. Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 April 2024
  2. News Article
    The British government was willing to risk infecting NHS patients to get “lower-priced” blood products, according to a document that campaigners claim proves state and corporate guilt in one of the country’s worst ever scandals. A public inquiry into the deaths of an estimated 2,900 people infected with conditions such as HIV and hepatitis will publish its final report in May, four decades after the NHS started prescribing blood and blood products – including from drug users, prisoners and sex workers – sourced from the USA. Within the thousands of documents disclosed to the inquiry, internal company minutes have emerged that campaigners say provide the final compelling piece of evidence of the commercial greed and state negligence that destroyed thousands of lives. In November 1976, Immuno AG, an Austrian company that was a major supplier to the Department of Health, was seeking a licence change to allow it to supply a blood product from those paid to donate in the US rather than donors without a financial incentive in Europe. According to the minutes of a meeting of medics in the company, it had been “proven” that there was a “significantly higher hepatitis risk” from a concentrate known as Kryobulin 2 made from US plasma compared with that from Austria and Germany. The company had concluded there was a “preference” in the UK for the cheaper US option. The memo of the meeting said: “Kryobulin 2 will be significantly cheaper than Kryobulin 1 because the British market will accept a higher risk of hepatitis for a lower-priced product. In the long-term, Kryobulin 1 will disappear from the British market.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 14 April 2024
  3. Content Article
    In this blog, Jo Jerrome, CEO of Thrombosis UK, explains the dangers of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and why it is important for patients and staff to be aware of the risk factors. Jo offers advice on how we can all manage our risk of DVT, and introduces their award-winning, free patient app – “Let’s talk clots”.  
  4. Content Article
    Intravenous therapy is an essential aspect of modern healthcare. While the benefits of using intravenous therapy usually outweigh the risks, occasionally the administration of IV therapies can go wrong. Infiltration and extravasation is a complication whereby the drug or IV therapy leaks into the tissues surrounding the vascular access device. This toolkit, developed by the National Infusion and Vascular Access Society (NIVAS), is intended to enable local services and healthcare organisations to implement polices, protocols and guidelines that will increase awareness about non-chemotherapy extravasations.
  5. Content Article
    SHOT is the UK’s independent, professionally-led haemovigilance scheme. It collects and analyses anonymised information on adverse events and reactions in blood transfusion from all healthcare organisations that are involved in the transfusion of blood and blood components in the United Kingdom. This document contains updated information on reporting categories and what to report to the scheme.
  6. News Article
    The publication of a final report into the infected blood scandal has been delayed until May. The chairman of the public inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, said more time was needed to prepare "a report of this gravity". Victims and their families were initially told they would learn the findings in autumn last year. That date was pushed back until March, and the inquiry has now confirmed the further delay to 20 May 2024. "I am sorry to tell you that the report will be published later than March. That is not what I had intended," added Sir Brian. "When I reviewed the plans for publication, I nonetheless had to accept that a limited amount of further time is needed to publish a report of this gravity and do justice to what has happened." It is thought about 30,000 people were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s. More than 3,000 have died in what has been described by MPs as the worst treatment disaster in NHS history. Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 January 2024 Further reading on the hub: UK Infected Blood Inquiry
  7. News Article
    MPs have backed a move to speed up compensation for victims of the NHS infected blood scandal, delivering the prime minister his first Commons defeat. Ministers will now have to set up a body to run the scheme within three months of a new bill becoming law. The vote was passed by 246 votes to 242 after 22 Conservatives rebelled. The Haemophilia Society said Rishi Sunak "should be ashamed" he had been forced "to do the right thing". Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 December 2023
  8. News Article
    The government faces a rebellion with at least 30 Tories backing an amendment to extend interim payouts to more victims of the infected blood scandal. Up to 30,000 people were given contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 80s. Thousands have died. A Labour amendment will be brought on Monday calling for a new body to be set up to administer compensation. More than 100 MPs, including Tories Sir Robert Buckland, Sir Edward Leigh and David Davis, are backing the move. In a letter sent to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves called the scandal "one of the most appalling tragedies in our country's recent history." She added: "Blood infected with hepatitis C and HIV has stolen life, denied opportunities and harmed livelihoods." She praised Theresa May, who set up the Infected Blood Inquiry when she was prime minister in 2017. But she warned: "For the victims, time matters. It is estimated that every four days someone affected by infected blood dies." The chancellor, himself a former health secretary, told the inquiry in July that the government accepted the moral case for compensation. But he said no final decisions could be made before the inquiry publishes its findings - now expected in March next year. In August 2022, the government agreed to make the first interim compensation payments of £100,000 each to about 4,000 surviving victims and bereaved widows. But inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff, said in April this year that the parents and children of victims should also receive compensation and also called for a full compensation scheme to be set up immediately. The Commons Speaker will decide on Monday which amendments to the bill MPs will vote on. But the government has said it will not be supporting the amendment. A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We are deeply sympathetic to the strength of feeling on this and understand the need for action. However, it would not be right to pre-empt the findings of the final report into infected blood." Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 December 2023
  9. News Article
    Opt-out blood tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C will be rolled out to a further 46 hospitals across England, the government has announced. Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said the new £20m programme would lead to earlier diagnoses and treatment. Under the scheme, anyone having a blood test in selected hospital A&E units has also been tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, unless they opted out. The trials have been taking place for the last 18 months in 33 hospitals in London, Greater Manchester, Sussex and Blackpool, where prevalence is classed by the NHS as "very high". Figures released by the NHS earlier show those pilots have identified more than 3,500 cases of the three bloodborne infections since April 2022, including more than 580 HIV cases. Ms Atkins said: "The more people we can diagnose, the more chance we have of ending new transmissions of the virus and the stigma wrongly attached to it." She added that rolling out the tests to more hospitals would help ensure early diagnoses so people "can be given the support and the medical treatment they need to live not just longer lives but also higher quality lives". Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 November 2023
  10. Content Article
    Download the free Let’s Talk Clots patient information app from Thrombosis UK, and help reduce your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism in hospital.
  11. Content Article
    On Nov 7 2023, NHS Resolution’s Safety and Learning team, hosted a virtual forum on learning from venous thromboembolism (VTE) claims in primary care. The purpose was to raise awareness of the cost and scale of harm, discuss the challenges and recommendations around recognition and treatment of VTE in general practice. We heard from a range of experts in the field with experience in developing and spreading best practice.
  12. News Article
    A compensation scheme for thousands of people affected by the infected blood scandal, described as the biggest treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, will reportedly be announced within weeks. Ministers will set up an arm’s-length body to administer the funds, which could run into hundreds of millions of pounds, and recognise culpability for the scandal for the first time, according to the Sunday Times. As many as 30,000 people became severely ill after being given factor VIII blood products that were contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C imported from the US in the 1970s and 80s, or after being exposed to tainted blood through transfusions or after childbirth. On average, one person affected is dying every four days, with approximately 3,000 having died to date. Last year, before the then health secretary Matt Hancock’s appearance at the public inquiry into the scandal, the paymaster general, Penny Mordaunt, announced the appointment of Sir Robert Francis QC to examine options for a framework for compensation before the inquiry reports its findings. A Cabinet Office spokesperson confirmed the review would be published shortly. “The government intends to publish the study by Sir Robert Francis QC in time for the inquiry and its core participants to consider it before Sir Robert gives evidence to the inquiry in July,” they said. “Government will give full consideration to Sir Robert’s recommendations and evidence to the inquiry.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 May 2022
  13. News Article
    THE majority of blood tests taken at Basildon Hospital to identify life-threatening illnesses have been contaminated in a “major failure”. An investigation has been launched by health bosses, with staff shortages allegedly causing the issue with “blood cultures”. Blood cultures, which look for germs or fungi in the blood and more deadly bacteria are routinely carried out ahead of operations. However, latest figures show that 70% of tests taken in the year up to January 2022 were found to be contaminated, leading to treatment being delayed as patients are re-tested. The normal limit of contaminated tests would be below 3%. The issue was raised at a joint board meeting of the clinical commissioning groups, which oversee local healthcare, on 24 March. Katherine Kirk, chairman of quality and governance committee at the Basildon and Brentwood group, said: “If I’m understanding this right and it’s about the effectiveness of blood tests, what’s going on? It’s clearly a major failure.” Read full story Source: The Echo, 4 April 2022
  14. News Article
    A number of London GP practices are training their receptionists to do blood tests, Pulse has learned. Professor Sir Sam Everington, a GP and chair of Tower Hamlets CCG, told Pulse that ‘lots of practices’ in the area have taken the step, including his own. Training a receptionist to carry out blood tests – which can be done in just six weeks – provides much-needed support to pressured practices, he said. Dr Everington told Pulse: ‘A lot of our receptionists have signed up to be phlebotomists and they love it because actually, phlebotomy is not just about taking blood. "You get to know all the patients with long-term conditions and so our phlebotomists know all these patients." He added that reception teams are a ‘fertile recruitment ground’ for a phlebotomist. They can ‘manage even the most terrified patients’ and have ‘amazing’ clinical skills. Dr Everington suggested that training receptionists as phlebotomists can help build trust with patients who are suspicious about having to describe their symptoms for triage by reception staff. But he said that the extra role just ‘acknowledges’ that all members of practice staff are ‘part of the clinical team’. He told Pulse: "In our practice, we all train together. We have meetings together, the whole team, and it’s acknowledging in this modern world that actually every member of your staff is a clinician – part of the clinical team – because there are always things they will do or can do that will have an impact clinically." "There isn’t a hidden supply of GPs out there in the next few years. It takes 10 years to train GPs so actually help is going to come from a wider team base." Read full story Source: Pulse, 31 March 2022
  15. News Article
    Rishi Sunak says the government will wait for the Infected Blood Inquiry's final report before responding to questions around victim compensation. Bereaved families heckled the prime minister when he told the inquiry the government would act as "quickly as possible". Mr Sunak told the inquiry people infected and affected by the scandal had "suffered for decades" and he wanted a resolution to "this appalling tragedy". But although policy work was progressing and the government in a position to move quickly, the work had "not been concluded". He indicated there was a range of complicated issues to work through. "If it was a simple matter, no-one would have called for an inquiry," Mr Sunak said. Campaign group Factor 8 said Mr Sunak had offered "neither new information not commitments" to the victims and bereaved families, which felt "like a betrayal". Haemophilia Society chief executive Kate Burt said: "This final delay is demeaning, insulting and immensely damaging. "We urge the prime minister to find the will to do the right thing and finally deliver compensation which recognises the suffering that has been caused." Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 July 2023
  16. News Article
    A black NHS worker has launched legal action against the health service’s blood and transplant authority after witnessing years of alleged racism within the service. Melissa Thermidor, 40, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, has lodged an employment tribunal claim against NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and two executives who have since left the authority. Betsy Bassis and Millie Banerjee, who were the chief executive and chairwoman, have denied the allegations and intend to fight the tribunal claims. One colleague allegedly said: “White donors are more likely to shop at Waitrose and black donors at Tesco.” At subsequent meetings, the phrase “Tesco donors” was used. Staff also allegedly referred to “you people” when speaking to black members of the team. Thermidor claims she was constructively dismissed after whistleblowing about racism within NHSBT. The health authority, which supported 3,386 organ donations in the year to March last year as well as collecting blood from 761,000 donors, has been embroiled in allegations of bullying, racism and poor culture under Bassis and Banerjee’s leadership. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 21 August 2022 Read NHS Blood and Transplant's response to the article.
  17. News Article
    Survivors of the contaminated blood scandal have been awarded interim government payments after a 40-year battle, but thousands of parents and children of the victims have still received nothing. Ministers have accepted the urgency of the need to make the £100,000 payments to about 3,000 surviving victims, after being warned that those mistakenly infected with HIV and hepatitis C were dying at the rate of one every four days. But parents and children of the victims accused the government of perpetuating the scandal by failing to recognise their own trauma and loss in today’s announcement. Contaminated blood products administered in the 1970s and 1980s to up to 6,000 people have already led to the deaths of more than 2,400 people in the biggest treatment scandal in NHS history. The government said it intends to make payments to those who have been infected and bereaved partners in England by the end of October. The same payments will be made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Announcing the plan, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, said: “While nothing can make up for the pain and suffering endured by those affected by this tragic injustice, we are taking action to do right by victims and those who have tragically lost their partners by making sure they receive these interim payments as quickly as possible. “We will continue to stand by all those impacted by this horrific tragedy, and I want to personally pay tribute to all those who have so determinedly fought for justice.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 August 2022
  18. News Article
    A scheme handing payments to those affected by the contaminated blood scandal will be announced this week, as ministers scramble to help those harmed by the “historic wrong”. Whitehall sources confirmed that a programme handing interim payments will be confirmed in the coming days, once officials have ironed out issues to ensure that victims are not taxed on the payments or have their benefits affected by them. It is thought that ministers accept recent recommendations that infected people and bereaved partners should get “payments of no less than £100,000”. More than 4,000 people are in line for the payment. Kit Malthouse, the cabinet office minister, has been prioritising the scheme in the last week to ensure payments are made as soon as possible. “The infected blood scandal was a tragedy for everyone involved, and the prime minister strongly believes that all those who suffered so terribly as a result of this injustice should receive compensation as quickly as possible,” said a No 10 source. “He has tasked ministers with resolving this issue so that interim payments can be made to all those infected as soon as possible, and we will set out the full details later this week.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 August 2022
  19. News Article
    Three former health secretaries have called on the government to urgently pay compensation to victims of the contaminated blood scandal. The chairman of the public inquiry into the scandal, Sir Brian Langstaff, has recommended that each victim should receive a provisional sum of £100,000. One woman who developed hepatitis C from infected blood told the BBC the news was "incredibly significant". The government has said it will urgently consider any recommendations. Former health secretaries Andy Burnham, Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock told the BBC it was important to act quickly because the life expectancy of many victims had been shortened by infections they had contracted. A lawyer representing about 15,000 claimants also argued that victims should receive compensation "immediately". Des Collins said payment must be made within "days or weeks", and he would step up pressure from Monday. Read full story Source: BBC News, 31 August 2022
  20. News Article
    Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told a public inquiry institutions and the state can sometimes "close ranks around a lie". Giving evidence at the infected-blood inquiry, he said it could be seen as a "huge failing of democracy" that victims had waited so long for justice. At least 5,000 people contracted HIV or hepatitis C in the 1970s and 80s, after being given contaminated blood products and transfusions on the NHS. More than 2,400 have died as a result. Jenni Richards QC asked whether a 2012 briefing for new ministers in the health department - "almost certainly" not shown to Mr Hunt at the time - stating, under a heading "Key facts", hepatitis C and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection had been a problem in the 1970s and 80s, "before it was possible to screen donors and make products safer", suggested the contamination had been an "unavoidable problem". Mr Hunt, health secretary for six years until July 2018, replied: "I mean, that briefing is wrong and it shouldn't say that. "At the very least, ministers should be aware as politicians that this is contentious and disputed by families - but I'm afraid it tries to suggest the issue is closed when it is not." Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 July 2022
  21. News Article
    NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which supplies blood to hospitals is reporting severe supply shortages for the first time since 2018, HSJ has learned. Well-placed senior sources said it is close to issuing a formal “amber alert”, which would mean it could not guarantee blood supplies to hospitals, they said. NHSBT acknowledged to HSJ that it was “expecting a difficult few months”. NHS trusts would have to start cancelling elective operations if they cannot ensure that necessary bloods are available. NHSBT has already written to trusts asking them not to over-order supplies, and to ensure management plans are in place should the situation escalate. Supplies of the common O blood types are thought to be down to less than three days’ worth. If they were to drop to two days, this would trigger an amber alert. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 5 July 2022
  22. News Article
    Trust boards should start scrutinising performance against new indicators set out by NHS England this month as part of a national push to iron out unwarranted variation in performance on key sepsis blood tests, according to an NHSE report. Blood cultures are the primary test for detecting blood stream infections, determining what causes them, and directing the best antimicrobial treatment to deal with them. However, it is too often seen as part of a box-ticking exercise, according to a report published by NHSE yesterday. Improving performance on this important pathway should be integrated into existing trust governance structures for sepsis, antimicrobial stewardship, and infection control “to help secure a ‘board to ward’ focus on improvement,” the report says. It says there is too much variation in how blood cultures are taken prior to analysis and sets out two targets for trusts to use to standardise their collection. The first is ensuring clinicians collect two bottles of blood, each containing at least 20ml for culturing. The more blood collected, the higher the rate of detecting bloodstream infections. Blood culture bottles “are frequently underfilled”. The second is ensuring blood cultures are loaded into an analyser as fast as possible, within a maximum of four hours, because delaying analysis reduces the volume of viable microorganisms that can be detected. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 1 July 2022
  23. News Article
    Former prime minister Sir John Major has described the contaminated blood scandal as "incredibly bad luck", drawing gasps from families watching him give evidence under oath to the public inquiry into the disaster. Up to 30,000 people contracted HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 80s after being given blood treatments or transfusions on the NHS. Thousands have since died. Sir John later apologised for his choice of language. He said: "I obviously caused offence inadvertently this morning when I referred to the fact that it was awful that people had been fed infected blood and I referred to it as sheer bad luck. "I can only say to people it wasn't intended to be offensive. I was seeking to express the fact that I was concerned about what happened. "It was intended simply to say that it was a random matter and I perhaps expressed it injudiciously." The UK-wide inquiry was launched after years of campaigning by victims, who claim the risks were never explained and that the scandal was covered up. Campaigners say those infected decades ago are now dying at the rate of one every four days as a result. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 June 2022
  24. News Article
    A possible link between blood clots and ongoing symptoms of Covid is under scrutiny by researchers in the UK. While Covid can cause a period of acute illness, it can also lead to longer-term problems. Research has suggested fewer than a third of patients who have ongoing Covid symptoms after being hospitalised with the disease feel fully recovered a year later. Now researchers are due to begin a number of trials to explore whether blood thinners may help those who have had the disease. Prof Ami Banerjee, of University College London, who is leading a study called Stimulate-ICP, said it was known that a Covid infection increases the risk of blood clots, and that people who have had the disease have a greater risk of related conditions including stroke, heart attacks and deep vein thrombosis. In addition, Banerjee said research from scientists in South Africa had suggested that people with long Covid have microclots in their blood, while studies in the UK suggested almost a third of long Covid patients have clotting abnormalities. But he said it was not clear if the findings were generalisable, and while there had been calls on social media for anticoagulants to be made available on the basis of such findings, further research was needed, not least as blood thinners can lead to an increased risk of bleeds. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 27 June 2022
  25. News Article
    A fifth patient has been given the wrong blood at a major teaching hospital’s haematology department where patient safety concerns were raised by clinicians last year. The incident, at University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust, is the fifth never event involving patients being transfused with the wrong blood at the trust since April 2020. Only 15 such never events have been recorded in England in the last two financial years, which means UHB accounted for a third of the total in 2020-21 and 2021-22. HSJ revealed last year that several clinicians had raised safety concerns at the trust’s haematology specialty after most of its services at Heartlands Hospital were moved to Queen Elizabeth Hospital as part of the trust’s pandemic response. The latest never event, which occurred in March, saw a patient being given an “unintentional transfusion of ABO-incompatible blood components” – according to papers provided to the trust’s council of governors. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 14 June 2022
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