Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
I welcomed the UK government’s announcement to call an inquiry into the events that led to people being infected with hepatitis C and/or HIV through NHS supplied blood or blood products. Many of those affected in Wales, together with their families and representatives, have campaigned long and hard for this to take place.
The Department of Health is undertaking a public consultation to seek views about the scope and format the inquiry should take and this is now running to 13 October. The design of the process, constitution, timescales and operation of the inquiry must inspire confidence in those it is seeking to serve. While consultation responses from within Wales will go directly to the department, I want to ensure that the Wales voice is heard. Welsh Government officials therefore met with representatives of those affected, Haemophilia Wales and the Cross Party Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood to hear their views. I have therefore written to the department to support their views and set out my expectations. The message is loud and clear: the inquiry must leave no stone unturned in getting to the full truth of what happened; how it was allowed to happen; and the role that responsible bodies played. To achieve this, I consider only a full public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 will fulfil this.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.