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Saturday Live

Gareth Lewis

  • Becky Vincent
  • 20 Apr 07, 03:39 PM

More than 1,700 people have died as a consequence of receiving infected blood in transfusions during the 1970’s and 1980’s and an independent public inquiry this week has begun to hear evidence from the families of those affected – and from those who are terminally ill now.

The inquiry is being funded privately, and not by the government who said treatments were given in "good faith".
We’ll hear the results of Lord Archer of Sandwell’s findings in the late summer.

Gareth Lewis may well hope that this will not come too late for him. He is a haemophiliac who received contaminated blood and – as a result – now lives with HIV. He shared his story with us.

Gareth is chairman of the pressure group Tainted Blood

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  1. At 09:32 PM on 22 Apr 2007, haydn lewis wrote:

    As a fellow infected person I listened to the interview with interest and must thank Gareth for highlighting this issue, I thought this may help others to understand how hard it is to get any justice when fighting against the powers that be.

    On the 17th April , Lord Archer of Sandwell QC started taking witness statements from persons infected and affected by contaminated blood products. This inquiry has been paid for by private donations as the present and past governments have refused to hold an Independent Public inquiry into the death of over 2000 persons within the haemophilia community for the past twenty years.

    The remit has not included the infected by Blood with the same viruses HIV and HCV which I find strange as this whole issue is one of public safety and not just haemophilia treatments.

    On the first day witnesses were instructed that they could not name Dr or members of the public bodies in control of patient and public safety, as this would mean them being called to make witness. I thought this is what an independent inquiry was meant to do? he stated it would extend the process but Its ok to name and record the very people infected and affected.

    Before starting Lord Archer informed all that he had been invited by the DoH to attend a meeting behind the closed doors of Whitehall to find out which of the non disclosed document to date he would be allowed to see. How can we have faith in this inquiry when Lord Archer meets senior civil servants in private rather then inviting them to give witness in public?

    I'm one of the infected persons with haemophilia HIV and HCV and also someone who has received blood products donated by a victim of vCJD who will be called as the inquiry progresses. I intend to name Sir Donald Acheson (ex CMO) and Kenneth Clarke MP in my statement to the inquiry and thought it would be a good idea to inform them beforehand and invite them to the inquiry to respond to anything I state. I also thought it may be of interest to the producers of the Saturday Live to invite them and myself to have a public debate with regard to the fact that both of them were party to the information not being released by Whitehall. Back in 1990 they both claimed "public immunity" and would not allow discloser of the very documents Lord Archer needs to access now.

    I would appreciated a chance to discuss this matter in more detail and hope the Editor feels this issue is important enough as I think it is a shameful state of affairs that past ministers remain silent in the knowledge of this injustice, and can only conclude that they are perverting the course of justice.

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