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Chair of contaminated blood inquiry appointed

13 January 2009

Court of Session judge Lord Penrose has been appointed to the public inquiry into why people were infected with hepatitis C and HIV through NHS blood products.

Announcing the appointment, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament yesterday that Lady Cosgrove, who had originally agreed to chair the inquiry, had to withdraw for family and personal reasons in the autumn.

The announcement comes days after the Government was warned by a judge that it would have to explain in court, in proceedings brought by the families of two people who died from diseases probably transmitted via blood products, if no start date had been set or chair appointed within a few weeks.

The inquiry will investigate the circumstances in which hepatitis C and HIV were transmitted through NHS treatment with blood and blood products in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I have every sympathy with those who have suffered or lost loved ones as a result of hepatitis C or HIV infection acquired through NHS treatment with blood or blood products.

"I hope the Penrose Inquiry can provide answers and the closure which I know they so desperately want.

"This inquiry will also ensure that all possible lessons are learned to prevent such a tragedy occurring again."

The inquiry is expected to begin by examining documents in detail going back over a period of over 20 years to the 1980s.

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