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Infected blood scandal 'brings shame on Government'

The Infected Blood Inquiry started in London this week.
The Infected Blood Inquiry started in London this week.

The infected blood scandal "takes the Great out of Great Britain" and brings "shame" on the government, according to one of the victims.

Peter Burney made the comments in a statement to the Infected Blood Inquiry, investigating the treatment of people with blood products containing hepatitis and HIV in the 1970s and 80s.

He contracted hepatitis after two blood transfusions in 1976.

Mr Burney accused the Government of a "cover-up on an industrial scale", which "reads like something out of a spy novel".

"Shame on you. When the truth comes out, history will not treat you kindly," he added.

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The inquiry has pledged to consider "whether there have been attempts to conceal details of what happened" through the destruction of documents or withholding of information.

Offering his condolences to the families of those who died, Mr Burney said: "To watch someone you love pass through no fault of their own - the responsibility of others - takes the Great out of Great Britain."

He shared his experiences of the stigmas attached to his condition.

Mr Burney told the inquiry: "Victims had to move house because of the hate slogans painted on their house; children bullied at school; and relationships broken down.

"I misled family, friends and neighbours. It is something I deeply regret."

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Referring to the alcoholism, drug abuse and promiscuity often blamed for hepatitis and HIV, Mr Burney said: "These were labels given to us by government.

"They purposely ostracised us because of a condition they gave us."

He concluded: "We have been stigmatised enough. This problem squarely lands on the shoulders of government."

The inquiry continues.