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Sam Rowlands MS highlights the report on the Infected Blood Inquiry

SAM ROWLANDS, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has called for measures to be taken so that the infected blood tragedy could never happen again.

Speaking in the Senedd, following the publication of the report on the Infected Blood Inquiry, Mr Rowlands, Shadow Health Minister said: “Let me join colleagues for raising this and the Cabinet Secretary in paying credit to all those who have campaigned on this issue over the years.

“I also join the Cabinet Secretary in her words of clarity, by outlining that this scandal is one of the greatest failures of the British state, and also to reflect on the words from Sir Brian Langstaff, who wrote the report.

“He chose to use the word ‘calamity’, but, in truth, there are no words that can wholly sum up the tragedy that has taken place over decades, including the disgraceful cover-ups from senior people in the national health service, Government ministries and the civil service.

“The awful attitude towards victims, the callousness with which they were treated, is certainly beyond a calamity in my book.

“They were, as we know, infected with contaminated blood, and then effectively gaslit by the authorities who covered it up every step of the way. There are so many innocent people who have suffered needlessly.

“Certainly, our thoughts are with them and their loved ones. We know that, in Wales, around 400 people are known to be infected, but we also know that this is unlikely to be the full number.

The report was clear in its criticisms of the UK and Welsh Governments, so I certainly welcome the formal apologies from both Governments to the victims.

“We must ensure that situations like this are never allowed to happen again, and that the groupthink and the secrecy that encourages cover-ups are eradicated once and for all.

“To again make the point on the secrecy and cover-up culture that seemed to come through in this report, I wonder, Cabinet Secretary, are there any proactive measures that you’ll be considering to ensure that public bodies in Wales don’t engage in that culture of secrecy and cover-ups, so that these tragedies don’t happen again?”

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The Cabinet Secretary, Eluned Morgan, said there was a legal duty of candour in the NHS in Wales and training was going on within the health service to make sure people understood what that means in practice.