Infected blood scandal campaigner who lost Hartlepool husband is to give evidence at public inquiry

A woman from Hartlepool who has campaigned for victims of an infected blood scandal for 30 years will give evidence at a public inquiry this week.

Carol Grayson’s husband, Peter Longstaff, also from town, died in 2005 after contracting hepatitis C and HIV from contaminated blood he was given to treat haemophilia.

Her brother-in-law, Stephen Longstaff, also died in what has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Thousands died after being given the contaminated blood products imported from America in the 1970s and 1980s.

Carol Grayson.

Much of plasma used to make the clotting agent Factor VIII came from donors including prison inmates, sex workers and drug addicts.

Carol, also part of Haemophilia Action UK, has carried out research and campaigned on behalf of victims for decades.

Carol said: “I will be talking about my husband, the impact on my husband and my brother-in-law, and the evidence I collected over the years.”

Peter Longstaff, a haemophiliac, was given blood contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

Victims have long believed the extent of the scandal was covered up, partly due to fears over legal action.

Carol, 62, who now lives in Newcastle, said: “To me the evidence from the public inquiry so far backs up what I have said for many, many years.

"There was safety violation after safety violation. My husband was given treatment that wasn’t fit for use in America.

"He was basically given a product that was withdrawn in America but was never withdrawn here on the grounds of public safety.

"We are getting to see from the inquiry the thought process of a lot of people who were in power at the time.”

Carol said donors were not screened, there were no risk assessments before the blood products were launched in the early 1970s, and said there was cases of hepatitis in patients “immediately” afterwards.

“The Government was turning a blind eye to serious safety violations happening in the US,” she added.

Carol previously won an award for her thesis into the scandal at Sunderland University.

She has also campaigned for compensation for victims, including a suggested £100,000 interim payment, and recompense for partners’ and carers’ loss of earnings.

The inquiry’s hearings can be watched live online on YouTube.