“The Infected Blood Inquiry” — What was not explained in the Report!

Colin Smith, who died aged seven, was one of 380 children now thought to have been infected with HIV through contaminated blood products.

The following is a summary of a BBC article on the publishing of the report of ‘The Infected Blood Inquiry’.

* The infected blood scandal inquiry has published its final report – concluding that the treatment disaster could and should have been largely avoided

* The report says that patients were knowingly exposed to “unacceptable risks”

* The five-year investigation also accuses doctors, the government and NHS of trying to cover-up what happened

* “Now the country knows, and the world knows, there was a deliberate attempt to lie and conceal”, campaigner Clive Smith says at a media briefing

* More than 30,000 people were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from 1970 to 1991 by contaminated blood products and transfusions – about 3,000 have since died

* Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to issue an apology later on today.

Under the headline:


the BBC coverage of the scandal contained these words:

“Authorities covered up the infected blood scandal after knowingly exposing victims to unacceptable risks, a long-awaited report, external says.

The five-year investigation accused doctors, government and the NHS of letting patients catch HIV and hepatitis.

More than 30,000 people were infected from 1970 to 1991 by contaminated blood products and transfusions.

About 3,000 have since died and more deaths will follow.

The Infected Blood Inquiry said victims had been failed “not once but repeatedly” by doctors, the NHS, government and others responsible for their safety.

Patient safety was not paramount in decision-making, it said, pointing out the risk of viral infections being transmitted in blood and blood products had been known about since the start of the NHS in 1948.

Despite this, people were exposed to “unacceptable risks”, including:

*  the continued importation of blood products from abroad – which included blood from high-risk donors in the US where prisoners and drug addicts were paid to give blood – despite a pledge to become self-sufficient

*  the failure of the licensing regime to recognise such products were unsafe and should not have been licensed for use

* the continued sourcing of blood donations from high-risk populations in the UK too, such as prisoners, until 1986

*  taking until the end of 1985 to heat-treat blood products to eliminate HIV, despite the risks being known since 1982

*  the government ignoring warnings in 1983 from one of the UK’s top infectious disease experts Dr Spence Galbraith that all imported US blood products should be withdrawn from NHS use until the HIV risk was “clarified”

*  a lack of testing from the 1970s onwards to reduce the risk of hepatitis

Destroying of documents

Inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff described the scale of what happened as “horrifying” and said the authorities had been too slow to respond to the risks.

Addressing the issue of a cover-up, he said that better wording to describe it was “hiding the truth”.

He said there has been a lack of openness, inquiry, accountability and elements of “downright deception”, including destroying documents.

But he said hiding the truth included not only deliberate concealment, but telling half-truths or not telling people what they had a right to know – including the risks of treatment they received, what alternatives were available and, at times, even the fact that they were infected.

Sir Brian said the scandal had destroyed “lives, dreams, friendships, families and finances”, adding the numbers dying were still climbing week by week.

“This disaster was not an accident. The infections happened because those in authority – doctors, the blood services and successive governments – did not put patient safety first,” he said.

He was also critical of the delays to calling a public inquiry – the then-Prime Minister Theresa May only announced it in 2017 when under political pressure.”

The Inquiry uncovered what surely amounted to inhuman and heartless actions by members of the medical services. Indeed, since physical harm, disease and death occurred as a result of these deliberate actions, was it not criminal as well as uncaring and callous?

How can an organisation, a government agency indeed, set up to provide ‘healthcare’, be guilty of such crimes? Over a period of three years, the United Kingdom had a system of healthcare brought into being under the guidance of  Welshman and labour politician, Aneurin Bevan MP. The National Health Service was proposed in Westminster legislation for England and Wales from 1946 and Scotland from 1947, and the Northern Ireland Parliament’s Public Health Services Act 1947.

I believe it correct to say that here in Ulster, from the early days of the NHS, many young Christian women in particular saw nursing as a means of Christian service. Consequently, the hospital wards were staffed by many who loved the Lord and who, with Christian love, devotedly served and ministered to the physical needs of their fellow citizens.

The proportion of the population professing faith in Christ has dropped dramatically in this century. The dropping particularly began with the rise of Ecumenical Modernism and Theological Liberalism within the Protestant Churches from the mid-1950s.

Today, that apostate spirit altogether dominates the mainline denominations. In consequence of the decline of numbers of true believers within society, the ranks of the NHS does not have the influence of dedicated Christians that it once had.

Another consequence of the dying of gospel influence as a result of the taking over of churches by falsehood and lies, is the decline in ‘Common grace’.

A textbook used while I was a student in the Free Presbyterian Church Theological Hall back in 1965-67, was a textbook by Louis Berkhof. He wrote concerning Common grace that it, “curbs the destructive power of sin, maintains in a measure the moral order of the universe, thus making an orderly life possible, distributes in varying degrees gifts and talents among men, promotes the development of science and art, and showers untold blessings upon the children of men,” p. 434. He was  summarising John Calvin’s position on common grace.

It is that restraining power at work in those days when there is a clear and powerful witness borne by God’s people within society. It is that influence which most Christians will be familiar with when unconverted acquaintances refrain from using ‘bad language’ in our presence! That is the effect of our testimony for the Saviour upon them!

The Saviour said: “Ye are the salt of the earth,” Matthew 5:13. Salt has long been used as a means to slow down decay in certain foods. That is the influence a godly people have upon the society in which they live and work.

It is the absence of that restraining, godly influence today that is seen in the breaking forth of wickedness amongst the citizenry to a degree not known for a long, long time in our land. That there is no restrain whatever on society generally appears in the language and the actions of the ungodly. The voices heard aloud in our streets are unrestrained and foul. Criminology has broken new bounds with the abuse and murder of babies, females, the elderly and the vulnerable. There is no restraint because the influence of the gospel is not present as it once was.

That is why such cruel inhumanity, as revealed in the report of ‘The Infected Blood Inquiry’, wrought such evil amongst those treated within the NHS.

It is hardly surprising that such things have taken place. Has the NHS not become a centre for the murder of the unborn with its abortion facilities?

Have there not been examples of members of staff engaged in cruelty toward patients which has resulted in their prosecution and imprisonment in some cases?

Is it not true that families with loved ones in hospital have complained in horror when they discovered that a notice was hung on the bed of their loved one, indicating that if they were to suddenly deteriorate, no attempt was to be made by the medical staff to aid them! A case known to me personally was that of an elderly patient with swallowing difficulties who was simply going to be let starve to death if they could not cope, without the aid of a feeding tube. to swallow food for themselves!

That reveals a spirit unknown within medical circles in the past. Then, everything was done that was humanly possible to sustain life until nothing more could be done. There appears to be little awareness of the eternal nature of the human being and of the fact that man has not the right to discard another to death while something may yet be done to help them.

Part of the 1969 version of the ‘Doctors’ oath’ states: “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over-treatment and therapeutic nihilism (the rejection of all medical treatments – The editor). I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”

There is surely evidence of that oath being violated wholesale during this period under examination by the ‘Inquiry’ when patients were infected, some fatally, by contaminated blood being used in their treatment.

Over all, this terrible disaster is but another fruit of the abandonment by nations of the moral rule given us by the Lord in the Bible and which has served mankind so well by its promoting of that spirit set forth in Galatians 6:10. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

That ‘spirit’ built hospitals and staffed them with those dedicated to helping others.

‘The Infected Blood Inquiry’ report indicated the sad fact of the decline and decay of that godly spirit.

Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
Wednesday 22nd  May, 2024