More than 30,000 people contracted HIV and hepatitis from contaminated blood transfusions between 1970 and 1991

The opposition recognizes the involvement of “all parties” and demands that the Government take measures


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has apologized “unequivocally and wholeheartedly following the publication of research which concludes that British authorities deliberately covered up between 1970 and 1991 that more than 30,000 people contracted HIV and hepatitis as a result of transfusions with contaminated blood, of which some 3,000 have already died.

“I want to apologize unequivocally and wholeheartedly for this terrible injustice, for the devastating and all too often fatal consequences this has had on so many lives, for the mismanagement of the response to cases of AIDS and hepatitis in blood victims infected,” Sunak declared from the House of Commons, the Lower House of the British Parliament.

He has also apologized for “the repeated refusal of the State and our medical professionals to recognize the damage caused” and for “the institutional failure to confront these failures and, worse, the denial and even the attempted cover-up.”

He has also apologized for the “disastrous delay of a public investigation.” “This is an apology from the State to each and every one of the people affected by this scandal,” he added.

“Today is a day of shame for the British State,” he began his speech. “The report demonstrates a decades-long moral failure at the heart of our national life, of the Civil Service of the National Health Service, of the ministers of successive governments, at all levels,” she acknowledged.

Those responsible who covered up the scandal “have failed this country” and have caused a “calamity” that “makes our nation tremble to its core.” “It was known that they were contaminated items,” but “they were repeatedly ignored,” he acknowledged.

“Time and again people in positions of power and trust had the option to stop the transmission of these infections. Time and time again they did not,” he noted.

Sunak also recalled that “the victims and their loved ones have had to fight for justice to be done”, that “fight to be heard and to be believed.” He has thus highlighted that more than 3,000 people have died without knowing the truth and without an apology. “They have died without seeing anyone held accountable,” he acknowledged.

Looking to the future, Sunak has assured that “we will pay it, whatever the cost” in reference to the proposal for a compensation and indemnity fund that will be presented this Tuesday. “It’s not enough to say sorry,” but there will be “long overdue compensation.”

He has also committed to studying the recommendations of the report presented by the commission led by Sir Brian Langstaff. “We are going to study them carefully before returning to the Chamber and responding,” he explained.

The leader of the opposition, Labor’s Keir Starmer, has also referred to this “injustice of unprecedented dimensions.” “I want to pay tribute to the courage and determination of the victims, those infected and affected, some present here today. I want to recognize each person who has suffered and who has been failed by politics itself,” he noted.

Starmer considers that the ruling is “from all parties, including mine”, that it has been a “betrayal”. “There is only one word: forgiveness,” he stated in a speech with an institutional tone that was later supported by Sunak himself.

The working group known as the Infected Blood Investigation presented its report this Monday, which maintains that the British authorities, including medical personnel and the Government, were aware that this situation had been occurring since the origins of the National Health Service. (NHS), in 1948, and which worsened between 1970 and 1991, when blood transfusions caused more than 30,000 people to contract HIV and hepatitis, of which some 3,000 have already died.

Despite this, they failed the victims “repeatedly” and exposed them to “unacceptable risks.” The person in charge of the investigation, Sir Brian Langstaff, has described the magnitude of these conclusions as “horrifying” and that there was a deliberate intention to “hide the truth”, according to the BBC.

Among the risks to which these thousands of people were exposed was the repeated importation of blood products from abroad, including blood from high-risk American and British donors, such as prisoners and drug addicts who were paid for transfusion.

“This disaster was not an accident. The infections occurred because the authorities – doctors, transfusion centers and successive governments – did not prioritize the safety of patients,” Langstaff denounced, regretting that this negligence has destroyed the lives of thousands of people.

The research highlights that two groups were largely affected: people with hemophilia and disorders in which blood does not clot as it should – for whom contaminated blood was used, mainly with hepatitis C – and of those who received transfusions after childbirth, accidents and during medical treatments.

Already in July 2022 and April 2023, the investigation published two interim reports in which the British Government was recommended to compensate those affected. A demand that he accepted, initiating payments of up to 100,000 pounds to some 4,000 survivors and their families, although compensation is expected to reach billions of euros.