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Ex-Health Minister denies responsibility for contaminated blood scandal

28 July 2021

Lord Clarke has told an Inquiry he was "not responsible" for blood products which were found to be contaminated during his time as Health Minister.

Around 3,000 people, many Disabled, died after being given blood products infected with HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s.

Lord Clarke was the Health Minister between 1982 and 1985. He said information about the scandal "hardly ever came across my desk".

He went on: "As the tragedy with the haemophiliacs developed, I was aware it was there… From time to time, usually on my own instigation, I got on the edge of it… I did not call meetings on it… I was never the Minister directly responsible for blood products… I was never asked to take a decision on blood products… I never intervened to take a decision on blood products… I did intervene or get involved in discussions a bit when I wanted to be reassured… "When I arrived, the idea that blood products was a very big part of the department's activity is simply not true."

He said it was not the job of ministers to intervene or impose a personal decision on what treatments patients were given.

The Inquiry continues.