Widow of Hartlepool infected blood scandal victim reacts to report of 'worst treatment disaster' in history of NHS

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The campaigning widow of a Hartlepool man who died in the infected blood scandal says she feels “vindicated” after a six-year public inquiry came to an end.

Carol Grayson, originally from town, has campaigned for victims and uncovered evidence of the scandal for almost 30 years and gave evidence to the inquiry.

He husband, Peter Longstaff, died aged 47 in 2005 after contracting hepatitis C and HIV from contaminated blood product he received as a teenager to treat the blood-clotting disorder haemophilia.

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It was later discovered the product Factor VIII which came from America came from high risk groups including prisoners, drug users, and sex workers.

Carol Grayson has campaigned for years to uncover evidence in the infected blood scandal. Inset: her husband Peter Longstaff who died in 2005.Carol Grayson has campaigned for years to uncover evidence in the infected blood scandal. Inset: her husband Peter Longstaff who died in 2005.
Carol Grayson has campaigned for years to uncover evidence in the infected blood scandal. Inset: her husband Peter Longstaff who died in 2005.

The Infected Blood Inquiry, which published its final report on Monday, identified a “catalogue of systemic, collective and individual failures”.

More than 30,000 people were infected with deadly viruses between the 1970s and early 1990s and it has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Peter’s younger brother, Stephen, also an haemophiliac, also died of Aids.

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Carol, a former nurse who cared for some of the UK’s first Aids patients, said of the report: “I feel vindicated finally after all these years.

Carol Grayson, the campaigning widow of a Hartlepool man who died in the infected blood scandal, says she feels “vindicated” after a six-year public inquiry came to an end.Carol Grayson, the campaigning widow of a Hartlepool man who died in the infected blood scandal, says she feels “vindicated” after a six-year public inquiry came to an end.
Carol Grayson, the campaigning widow of a Hartlepool man who died in the infected blood scandal, says she feels “vindicated” after a six-year public inquiry came to an end.

"Things that I claimed that were seen as outrageous 25 to 30 years ago weren’t conspiracy theories. They were fact.”

She added: “I started off campaigning as a young woman. If anyone told me I would still be going now, I don’t think I could have done it.”

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Carol said she had mixed emotions following the publication of the report. She praised its chair Sir Brian Langstaff but added: “It’s very hard thinking about my husband and brother-in-law and the suffering that the family went through.”

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Carol Grayson and her husband Peter Longstaff who died in the NHS infected blood scandal.Carol Grayson and her husband Peter Longstaff who died in the NHS infected blood scandal.
Carol Grayson and her husband Peter Longstaff who died in the NHS infected blood scandal.

The Prime Minister issued a “wholehearted and unequivocal” apology on what he called a day of shame for the country.

Victims are awaiting compensation details from Cabinet Office Minister John Glen.

Carol, who now lives in Newcastle, recently met with Mr Glen. She wants victims to be individually assessed and for proven cases to be prioritised.

She also agreed with Mr Sunak that there should be “justice and accountability”.

Looking ahead, Carol said: “People are still living with viruses. We have to move forward but it will be easier for some than others.”

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