Norwich MP joins fight for the people poisoned with contaminated blood
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
A Norwich MP has pledged to fight for victims of the contaminated blood scandal, after signing up to a group aimed at improving their lives and giving them a voice in parliament.
In a special report last month, we revealed how thousands of victims poisoned by bad blood and blood products in the 1970s and 80s, many of them from this region, continue to be let down by the government in numerous ways. Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, added her voice to the campaign, describing it as a 'national disgrace and a national tragedy'.
Now Mrs Smith has been named vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, set up to support the victim's continued fight for justice.
She said today: 'I have had the privilege of working alongside constituents who have been tireless in their fight for a fair and just settlement for the catastrophic events of the 1970s and 1980s. They have done this whilst battling failing health, often in considerable pain.
'I look forward to continuing my campaign.'
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More than 30,000 people are believed to have been given contaminated blood by the NHS, which was using products without proper checks as to their safety and despite health warnings.
Decades on, an estimated 2,000 people have already died as a result, making it the 15th largest peacetime disaster in British history.
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In spite of this, the victims claim to receive unfair financial compensation and have seen no one made accountable for the tragedy, while the introduction of a new drug to help those given hepatitis C has been delayed.
In response to the Scottish Penrose Inquiry into the scandal, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged an extra £25m in funding for victims and Mrs Smith said the group's priorities would be to assess the new funding arrangements, push on with the inquiry proposals and ensure the new drug is made available as soon as possible.
Annie Walker, of Mousehold House, Norwich, who contracted hep C from blood transfusions following an operation at the age of 19, said: 'This is wonderful news as Chloe has been very supportive to us. Cameron did promise £25m but we need checks on where that will go and whether that will improve the lives of sufferers who continue to live in poverty because of something that wasn't their fault.'
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