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Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 19 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 5 January (WA 41–2), between which officials in the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health and Children and the Department of Health in Her Majesty's Government the information in the answer was agreed; whether at any stage any minister in Her Majesty's Government or of the government of the Republic of Ireland was involved in the matter; and what attention was given to the status of the expert group, which was not a tribunal, and its remit, limited to hepatitis C infection caused by anti D. [HL1133]

No Ministers in either Her Majesty's Government or in Ireland were involved in the exchange of information between officials as these related to factual matters. In this instance, the correspondence was between the blood policy team in the Department of Health and the Blood and Tissue Policy Unit in the Irish Department of Health and Children.

The expert group in Ireland was established by the Minister for Health in 1994. Its terms of reference were:

“To examine and report to the Minister for Health on the following matters:

all the circumstances surrounding the infection of the anti-D immunoglobulin product manufactured by the Blood Transfusion Board; and

the systems and standards in place for donor selection, the manufacturing process and use of the anti-D immunoglobulin produced by the Blood Transfusion Board.

To make recommendations to the Minister for Health on the above matters and on any other matters relating to the Blood Transfusion Board which the Group consider necessary”.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what part Crown Immunity played in protecting the Blood Products Laboratory from legal proceedings for failing to comply with the Medicines Act 1968 to the hurt of haemophilia patients treated with contaminated NHS blood and blood products. [HL1134]

Crown immunity gave no protection from civil legal proceedings. Some affected individuals who had acquired HIV infection through their treatment with blood products did bring a civil action in 1990, which was settled out of court.