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The public inquiry said the victims of the tainted blood had “truly seen the worst of times”.

Victims of the tainted blood scandal feel “righteous anger” and have “the right to demand change and the right to demand restitution”, the final day of a long-running public inquiry heard.

Sam Steyn KC, who is representing 23 people affected by contaminated blood or blood products, including relatives who supported a partner through a terminal illness, said Examination of infected blood that they had “truly seen the worst of times.”

The independent inquiry was organized six years ago by the then prime minister Theresa May to examine the circumstances in which infected blood was transmitted to men, women and children treated in health services, particularly since 1970.

The inquiry, chaired by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff, is also looking into the support given to patients after being infected, issues of consent and whether there was a cover-up.

Our clients’ lives have been devastated and derailed by exposure to contaminated blood products for them and their loved ones

Sam Stein KC

In the inquest’s final closing submissions on Friday, after nearly four years of taking evidence in the UK, Mr Stein said of the victims he represents: “Our clients have been infected, affected and killed by this scandal.

“Our customers’ lives have been devastated and derailed by the effects of contaminated blood products on them and their loved ones.”

Mr Stein told the hearing in London: “They really went through the worst of times – the stigma, the fear, the endless desperate daily ill-health, the pain, the brain fog and the constant sleep deprivation.”

The lawyer said many of his team’s clients were campaigners fighting for justice and truth and “when they were ignored” they were “knocking on other doors”.

Mr Stein told the inquiry: “They never stopped and without them – and this needs to be acknowledged – this inquiry would never have happened.

“All our customers are passionate, relentless and angry, but this is righteous anger. It is the righteous anger of the ignored, rejected, and discriminated against (against).

“We do not apologize for the internal anger of our customers. We make no apologies for their desire for the truth and adequate compensation for the harm they have caused.

“Instead, let me be clear – they are right to be angry, and they are right to demand compensation, the right to demand change and the right to demand restitution.”

Mr Stein also claimed the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) responses to the inquiry showed a “complete lack of sincerity” and a failure to “realise that an apology should mean something”.

In his submissions to the inquiry last month Govt said interim compensation payments of around £400m showed it accepted a “moral responsibility” to help victims.

The DHSC’s Eleanor Gray KC told the inquiry on January 18 that the hearing had given a “powerful voice” to patients affected by contaminated blood treatment and their loved ones.

DHSC’s written closing statement to the inquiry, dated December 16 last year, said the department accepted that “things happened that should not have happened” and that any statements on its behalf should not detract from its “unreserved” apology.

Ordering the inquiry in 2017, Mrs May described the exposure to the contaminated food as “a terrible tragedy that simply should not have happened”.

An estimated 2,400 patients died after becoming infected HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

Most of the participants had a blood clotting disorder, hemophilia, and were given injections of the American product Factor VIII.

Thousands of adults and around 380 children received infected blood products or transfusions during treatment on the NHS, an inquest heard.


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