Skip to main content

Contaminated Blood and Blood Products Inquiry

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer of 15 October 1990, Official Report, column 662W, on haemophiliacs (Aids), (1) how many of the documents that were withheld from the courts by the Department were among those that were not released to the independent inquiry into contaminated blood and blood products chaired by Lord Archer QC of Sandwell; and if he will make a statement; (253285)

(2) how many documents were withheld from the courts by the Department; and if he will make a statement;

(3) which documents that were withheld from the courts by the Department have been subsequently released to the independent inquiry into contaminated blood and blood products chaired by Lord Archer QC of Sandwell; and if he will make a statement.

In July 1990, the then Permanent Under-Secretary of State certified to the High Court that approximately 600 documents enjoyed immunity from disclosure in civil litigation with regard to haemophiliacs who had contracted the AIDS virus in the course of national health service treatment. A definitive list of the documents is no longer available in the Department’s files, and it is not therefore possible to state with confidence how many may also have been withheld in line with the Freedom of Information Act from the approximately 4,500 documents released to Lord Archer in 2007.

The documents issued to Lord Archer had been rediscovered in the Department stored in unregistered files, and 26 of these unregistered files were marked as undisclosed in litigation. It is therefore believed that these files contain the documents referred to in the 1990 certificate. From those 26 files, 12 documents were withheld in whole and nine in part from those released in 2007. These were withheld in line with exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and not in relation to different decisions made in 1990 when different rules applied.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has received (a) a draft copy and (b) an advance copy of the report of the Independent Public Inquiry into Contaminated Blood Products; and if he will make a statement. (255217)

The Department has not received a draft copy or an advance copy of the report of the Independent Public Inquiry into Contaminated Blood Products.