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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 August 2007, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Sturgeon promise on blood inquiry
Blood bags
The previous administration resisted calls for an inquiry
People in Scotland who were infected with viruses through blood transfusions have received a firm pledge that a public inquiry will be held.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon confirmed to campaigners that she will honour an SNP manifesto promise.

The inquiry will look at how people were infected with hepatitis C and HIV from blood products in the 70s and 80s.

About 5,000 people in the UK were exposed to hepatitis C and of these about 1,200 were infected with HIV.

A privately-funded independent inquiry is currently being held in London.

Labour peer Lord Archer of Sandwell, a former solicitor general, is leading the inquiry, which is due to report in late summer.

'Way forward'

The full remit and timing of the Scottish inquiry will be finalised after the Archer inquiry reports.

Lawyer Frank Maguire, of Thompsons solicitors, which represents hundreds of the victims and their families, said many patients had died during the campaign for an inquiry.

He said: "The survivors and the relatives of those who have died have remained committed to forcing a public inquiry.

"At last they have the real prospect of finding out the truth."

A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said: "A public inquiry in Scotland to find out why people were infected with hepatitis through NHS treatment is the best way forward.

"Clearly, we will wish to assess the findings of the Archer inquiry before deciding exactly when and how to proceed."

The previous administration had resisted calls from victims and their families for a public inquiry, saying treatments were given in "good faith".


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