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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 16:00 GMT
Hepatitis sufferer's inquiry call
Blood donation - generic
Infected products were used
A man who contracted both HIV and hepatitis C from infected NHS blood products has made an emotional appeal for an inquiry into the controversy.

Andrew Gunn urged members of the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee to support a probe and "proper compensation" for those infected.

The 28-year-old was among about 500 haemophiliacs who became ill while receiving hospital treatment in the 1980s.

He told MSPs that his life has been a constant struggle since contracting the conditions at the age of 14.

This idea of giving us the second instalment just as we're about to kick the bucket doesn't make any sense at all
Andrew Gunn
Mr Gunn said: "I do my best and I struggle on, but I've got HIV and hepatitis C and the side-effects are probably worse than the conditions themselves.

"It's absolutely terrible and leads to personality changes, insomnia, shortage of breath, muscle pains and fever."

Mr Gunn presented a petition on behalf of the Scottish Haemophilia Groups Forum.

He added: "It's a terrible thing that happened and it could have been prevented.

"But the worst thing is that we can't get any closure because we haven't got truth or justice. The only way to get that is with an independent public inquiry."

Unanimous backing

The Inverness man condemned the Scottish Executive's offer of compensation to those who became ill through infected blood.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm had said that an initial 20,000 payment would be made to all hepatitis sufferers, with an additional 25,000 for those who had gone on to develop "chronic" conditions such as liver cancer or cirrhosis.

Mr Gunn said patients in Ireland who became infected have received about 200,000 each in compensation.

He said: "This idea of giving us the second instalment just as we're about to kick the bucket doesn't make any sense at all.

"People need the money now to look after their families."

MSPs on the committee unanimously backed his petition and promised to refer it to the Health and Community Care Committee.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Health correspondent Eleanor Bradford
"The health minister has promised to investigate"



SEE ALSO:
Hepatitis C records go 'missing'
27 Feb 03 |  Scotland
The fight for Hep C compensation
17 Jan 03 |  Scotland
Minister intervenes in Hep C row
17 Jan 03 |  Scotland
Blood pay-out call fails
19 Dec 02 |  Scotland


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