Posted: Wed 5th Jun 2024

Senedd: Mark Isherwood MS speaks out on behalf of North Wales infected blood victims

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

North Wales MS Mark Isherwood addressed the Senedd on Tuesday, drawing attention to the harrowing experiences of local victims of the infected blood scandal.

Between 1970 and the early 1990s, more than 30,000 NHS patients were given blood transfusions, or treatments which used blood products, contaminated with hepatitis C or HIV.

Over 3,000 people have died as a result, and thousands live with ongoing health conditions.

Mr Isherwood’s comments were part of a debate on the findings of the Infected Blood Inquiry Report.

The North Wales MS stated that approximately 400 people in Wales were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products.

This figure excludes those who died without knowing they were infected.

Haemophilia Wales reports that 283 patients contracted hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s, with over 70 haemophilia patients in Wales dying as a result.

He emphasised, “As the five-year inquiry stated, Infected Blood was not an accident and was avoidable. The truth had been hidden, and victims had been repeatedly failed.”

Mr Isherwood shared personal accounts, including that of Jane Jones from North Wales.

Ms Jones was infected with hepatitis C through treatment for Von Willebrands Disease, a rare clotting disorder.

Her mother, Annona, also contracted the virus, and both women required liver transplants.

They were never informed about the risks or their infections.

Jane Jones poignantly stated to the inquiry, “Being infected with hepatitis C is something you would not wish upon an animal.”

He also relayed the story of Rose Richards from Denbighshire.

Ms Richards, a carrier of the haemophilia gene, lost her brother to AIDS in 1990 after he received contaminated Factor VIII treatment.

Her two sons, born in the 1980s, were fortunately spared due to safer treatments becoming available later.

She expressed the collective anguish, saying, “The experiences of hearing of other parents losing their children have been harrowing now that we know the truth about the scandal.”

Mr Isherwood referenced ongoing concerns about government inaction on compensation and support payments.

Sir Brian Langstaff recommended continuing support payments and providing compensation, but no commitment has been made.

Ms Richards stressed, “Victims continue to die at the rate of one every four days without justice.”

Drawing on past advocacy, Mr Isherwood quoted Monica Summers, whose husband Paul died from contaminated blood at age 44.

“Every day for 18 months she asked ‘when is daddy coming home?’ She turned 13 in October, and we both struggle. Over 30 years later, we are still trying to get some agreement,” Ms Summers said.

Mr Isherwood concluded by reiterating the enduring devastation caused by the contaminated blood scandal, urging for the voices of those affected to be heard and for justice to be served.

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