Ex-health secretary Andy Burnham calls for ‘Hillsborough-style’ inquiry into contaminated blood scandal that ruined lives in East Anglia

Michelle Tolley contracted Hepatitis C after two blood transfusions when she was pregnant in the 198

Michelle Tolley contracted Hepatitis C after two blood transfusions when she was pregnant in the 1980s. PHOTO: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A former health secretary has presented new evidence of 'deliberate, provable acts of cover-up' and called for a public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal that has blighted so many lives in this region.

Speaking in the Commons, Labour's Andy Burnham outlined allegations of inappropriate treatment given to patients, tests being done on people without their knowledge, and results being withheld for several years.

He labelled these 'criminal acts' and told the Commons: 'If the government does not set up a Hillsborough-style inquiry by the time the House rises for the summer recess, then I will refer my evidence to the police and I will request that investigation.'

Thousands of deaths have been linked to the scandal, in which haemophiliacs and others were infected with hepatitis C and HIV from blood products used by the NHS until 1991.

The victims include Michelle Tolley, 52, from Sparham, who was infected with Hepatitis C after a blood transfusion while giving birth in 1987. She said: 'Let's just hope we get some type of closure now. Yes we do need money to help with bills, but money won't buy your life back.'

She added: 'We need closure. It's the worst disaster in the National Health Service and to think, for MPs themselves to say there's evidence and there's been a cover up, what faith can you have in people if someone has deliberately done that?'

Speaking during an adjournment debate, Mr Burnham said the cases he raised in the Commons revealed 'deliberate, provable acts of cover-up - including a man infected with hep C who was labelled an alcoholic in medical notes despite his widow saying he drank very little.

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Mr Burnham mentioned two documents, including a 1975 letter that warned about new Factor VIII blood clotting products for haemophiliacs coming on to the market. 'It said in relation to one particular product... 'The source blood is 100 per cent from skid row derelicts' in his words. He is writing to warn the British government about blood products that have been used.'

Health minister Nicola Blackwood resisted calls for a fresh inquiry. She said thousands of documents had been released by the Department of Health in relation to the scandal, while two reviews had already been carried out by Lord Archer and Lord Penrose.

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