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Penrose inquiry opens into contaminated blood
The inquiry opened yesterday into the supply by the NHS in Scotland of contaminated blood and blood products to haemophiliacs and other patients in the 1970s and 1980s.
Chaired by Court of Session judge Lord Penrose, the inquiry, set up by the Scottish Government after legal proceedings by the families of two patients who died from infections received through contaminated products, could last up to two years.
Yesterday's proceedings began with a minute's silence for those who had died from their infections. Over 4,000 people across the UK are thought to have contracted diseases such as hepatitis C in this way, of whom 2,000 have since died.
Lord Penrose opened by stating that the purpose of the inquiry was not to find individuals or institutions criminally liable, or legally liable for damages or breach of duty, though the inquiry might identify "actions and failures" in the collection, treatment and supply of blood.
A compensation scheme has been set up for victims, but last month the independently financed Archer Inquiry in England recommended additional payments to those affected after finding fault and delay by Government and scientific agencies (click here for news story on this inquiry).