VICTIMS of the contaminated blood scandal which left at least 2,400 people dead celebrated yesterday after the probe was moved from the Department of Health to the Cabinet Office.
The decision was made after campaigners expressed strong opposition to Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement in June that the inquiry would be held by the department.
They argued the health department should not be involved in setting up an inquiry when it is under investigation itself over its role in the scandal which saw thousands of haemophilia and other patients receive contaminated blood transfusions.
An earlier parliamentary report found that 7,500 patients were infected during the 1970s and ’80s with Hepatitus C and HIV by imported blood from organisations in the US, whose paid donors included drug addicts.
The probe will now be held as a full statutory public inquiry, Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The inquiry will be conducted under the responsibility of the Cabinet Office rather than by the Department of Health with immediate effect.
"There was a strong view that it should be done away from the Department of Health.”
A spokesman for the Haemophilia Society welcomed the government’s decision to move responsibility for the probe and for recognising its concerns over impartiality.
“We hope the decision to make the Cabinet Office the sponsor of the now statutory inquiry will be a turning point in helping the victims of this scandal finally get the justice they have long deserved,” he said.