Nicola Sturgeon's statement on the cost so far of the Penrose Inquiry raises several questions ("Blood inquiry cost has reached £9m", The Herald, May 9).

While one cannot forecast the outcome of Lord Penrose's report, many of us who were infected or affected with Hepatitis C as the result of NHS treatment are not optimistic.

The statement poses several questions that need to be addressed: why was the inquiry funded from the NHS budget? Why most people affected who wished to give oral evidence were refused by Lord Penrose?

About 160 people provided written statements and 80 of these people wished to be core participants. Lord Penrose only agrees to 15 being core participants and at the end of the hearings had only allowed six core participants to give oral evidence. Why? Given the Government's statement that 67 people gave oral evidence, what happen to the views of those infected?

For more than 20 years I and several others (some who have since died or are seriously ill) have campaigned for an inquiry. We welcomed the SNP Government's announcement in July 2007 to set up a judicial inquiry. It would be an understatement to say that we are disappointed by Lord Penrose's approach to this tragedy, which Lord Robert Winston described "as the worst tragedy in the history of the NHS".

The setting up of the inquiry gave hope that finally the impact of Hepatitis C, due to infected blood, on individuals and their families would be heard and lessons learned. The denial to hear the voices of those infected gives the impression of a whitewash.

The statement about the cost of the inquiry should not be used as an excuse for not getting to the truth. There seems to be no difficulties regarding costs for the Leveson Inquiry. Why the cost-cutting about the deaths of so many patients treated by the NHS in Scotland?

Christine Graham and Jackson Carlaw may be correct that there should be a better way of getting to the truth but if the judiciary, which should be independent, fails to seek the truth due to being restricted to cost, what alternative exists? Perhaps the Government does not want the truth to be known.

Philip Dolan MBE KHS,

Converer, Scottish Infected Blood Forum,

160 Camphill Avenue, Glasgow.

You highlight concerns about the cost of recent public inquiries in Scotland.

Considering the value of inquiries in general, it is important to get at the facts of alleged medical malpractices and workplace accidents. Therefore there is a constant need to investigate such events and mishaps as fairly and fully as possible.

On the other hand, a reasonable approach is to restrict legal expenses, such as lawyers' costs to "reasonable" amounts. Some kind of fixed-fee tariff in advance of an inquiry might well help keep down legal costs. Alternatively, some kind of formal examination of legal fees by means of a formal process (known as a "taxation" in Scots Law) could be introduced. I would favour the fixed-fee approach as giving greater certainty of legal costs in advance.

Hopefully lessons will be learned from recent and current inquiries, and victims and the public should be entitled to find out in due course where the expense was incurred and who was paid exactly what and for what.

Lawyers have had a tendency over the decades in many cases to shout loudly for inquiries because the findings of an inquiry might make any subsequent compensation claims by victims or families easier to succeed.

Arguably also, in recent years, the advent of solicitor-advocates has enabled solicitors' firms to second some of their own partners or assistants to long–running inquiries without the need, as previously, for the firm to instruct independent outside advocates or a QC who would hitherto have charged the firm a substantial fee.

It could be argued by a cynic that long-lasting public inquiries have become attractive "dripping roast" earners for solicitors' firms who have in-house solicitor-advocates; hence the cynic might suggest the frequent siren cry for yet another inquiry.

In any event, public inquiries have their necessary place as a general principle but the duration and cost are certainly going to have to be scrutinised in future, in the interests of taxpayers as well as victims.

Angus Logan,

2 York Road, North Berwick.