Thousands of lives "continue to be blighted" by the infected blood scandal, a charity has said, as a long-awaited report into the tragedy is published today. 

More than 30,000 people were given blood or blood products contaminated with HIV, hepatitis C, or both, between the 1970s and 1990s - including an estimated 3000 people in Scotland - in what is known as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Around 3000 of those affected have already died, including children. 


Sir Brian Langstaff, chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry - which heard evidence between 2019 and 2023 - will publish his findings today. 

The Haemophilia Society said it "marks a seismic moment in the long fight for truth and justice for people with haemophilia".

Reports on Sunday suggest that it could cost the UK Government at least £10 billion to compensate those sickened or bereaved by infected blood. 

A earlier probe in Scotland, known as the Penrose Inquiry, was branded a "whitewash" by campaigners when it published its findings in 2015 and made just one recommendation - that blood tests be offered to anyone in Scotland who had received a blood transfusion prior to 1991 and who had not already been tested for Hep C.

Its chair, Lord Penrose, was also criticised for saying that few matters could have been handled differently. 

Martin Reid from Insch, Aberdeenshire, was infected with Hep C as a child whilst receiving treatment for haemophilia.

Mr Reid's hepatitis was cleared in 2011 as a result of treatment for the virus, but he has been left with lasting effects including anxiety and depression.

He said: "My parents were both distraught about it - they felt a lot of guilt about it, I guess as any parent would."

The Herald: Campaigners burn copies of the Penrose Inquiry in 2015Campaigners burn copies of the Penrose Inquiry in 2015 (Image: PA)

The 44-year-old said he considered himself fortunate that he was among the patients infected by HIV, but added that he continues to suffer fatigue, insomnia, and "extreme anxiety".

His grandfather, who also had haemophilia, was infected by Hep C as a result of contaminated blood products and died from cancer and complications from the virus aged 71.

Mr Reid, a father-of-two, said: "I have lived to the age where I have been able to have a family, I am still here, so I do feel like one of the lucky ones.

"But I do feel a sense of survivor's guilt - especially as the inquiry has been hearing so many harrowing and heart-breaking stories about people's children being infected and dying at a very early age, or people being infected, never being told and subsequently going on to infect other members of their family."

Haemophilia is an inherited clotting disorder. 

Most people with the condition have a shortage of the protein that enables human blood to clot, known as Factor VIII.

In the 1970s, a new treatment was developed to replace the missing clotting agent, which was made from donated human blood plasma.

For the first time, patients could treat themselves at home by injection whereas they had previously required transfusions with plasma in hospital.

Manufacturers made the product by pooling plasma from tens of thousands of people, but shortages meant that the UK began to rely on supplies imported from the United States where prisoners were paid to donate it. 

A key question for the inquiry has been to establish exactly when ministers and NHS bosses became aware that the blood products being used were potentially contaminated and posed a risk to patients. 

There have long been complaints that the scandal was covered up, and blood screening introduced too late.

The Herald: Campaigners in London in July 2023, calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to accelerate compensation payments to victims of infected bloodCampaigners in London in July 2023, calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to accelerate compensation payments to victims of infected blood (Image: PA)

Kate Burt, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: "Radical change must result from this inquiry if we are to learn the lessons of the past and protect future generations from harm.

"For the sake of the thousands of people who have died and those whose lives continue to be blighted by this terrible scandal, it is vital that the inquiry's recommendations are acted upon."

A spokesman for the UK Government said: "This was an appalling tragedy that never should have happened.

"We are clear that justice needs to be done and swiftly, which is why have acted in amending the Victims and Prisoners Bill.

"This includes establishing a new body to deliver an Infected Blood Compensation Scheme, confirming the Government will make the required regulations for it within three months of Royal Assent, and that it will have all the funding needed to deliver compensation once they have identified the victims and assessed claims.

"In addition, we have included a statutory duty to provide additional interim payments to the estates of deceased infected people.

"We will continue to listen carefully to the community as we address this dreadful scandal."