The First Minister has pledged her "absolute determination" to do everything she can to deliver justice and support to those affected by the contaminated blood scandal.

Nicola Sturgeon issued an unreserved apology to those who contracted hepatitis C and HIV as a result of being given infected blood and blood products on the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Penrose Inquiry, which was set up by the Scottish Government and spent years probing the events, published its findings yesterday.

Responding during First Minister's Questions at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: "As First Minister of Scotland, and on behalf of the Government of Scotland and the NHS, I want to take this opportunity to say a very sincere and heartfelt sorry to everyone who has had to deal with the devastating impact of infected NHS blood and blood products.

"I can't begin to understand the difficulties and the many hardships that individuals and their families have had to contend with.

"It is important that we apologise to them openly and without reservation."

She added that "we must do everything in our power to make sure that terrible events like these never, ever happen again".

The inquiry found that more should have been done to screen blood and donors for hepatitis C in the early 1990s, and said the collection of blood from prisoners should have stopped earlier.

Its single recommendation is for anyone who had a blood transfusion before 1991 to be tested for hepatitis C.

Many of the victims described the inquiry report as a "whitewash" and called for greater support from the Government.

"I can understand the feelings, the frustration, even the disappointment of all of those affected by these dreadful events", Ms Sturgeon said.

"We regard the publication of the report as the start of a process of further engagement with those affected rather than an end to the investigations into these tragic events."

She said the Government will act to implement the inquiry's recommendation and review financial support as a "matter of urgency".

"We recognise that direct payments are only part of the support package for those affected: we will also therefore implement pilots of increase psychological and social work support with a view to putting in place a national service," she said.

There will also be additional funding for charities Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum, Ms Sturgeon said.

"As First Minister I am absolutely determined that we do everything we can to deliver justice and support to those who have suffered so much."