LibLink Christine Jardine: Sorry just isn’t enough

Christine Jardine has long been fighting for justice for those affected by the Infected Blood scandal and used her Scotsman column to say that Government needs to get much better at accepting its own failings so that victims and their families do not have to wait decades for acknowledgement of mistakes and compensation.

She outlined the tragedy and heartbreak the scandal caused.

One woman told how she had discovered that she and both of her daughters have been infected with HIV by a blood transfusion she had been given before either child was conceived. It had been passed on to them during their birth.

A father told of the pain he and his family had gone through over his son’s death. He had been given blood products contaminated by HIV in the early 1980s when there was little understanding of the condition and public fear was at its zenith. Already distraught at what had happened to their son, the family then had to deal with the lack of understanding and stigma which then surrounded HIV.

I thought about friends of my own family who had gone through the grief of losing their father to hepatitis after what had seemed like a life-saving kidney transplant. He had been given a contaminated blood transfusion during the transplant which eventually claimed his life. In a way, the system had let them both he and the donor down as he never enjoyed the full, long life that should have been the result of that amazing, selfless gift.

All of those families and thousands more have lived with pain, confusion and, in many cases, financial hardship for what is now approaching four decades.

She then looked at the failures of Government to act to help, not just on this, but on Grenfell and Hillsborough too.

Sadly, however, those families who have been through decades of torment are not alone in their frustration with a system which seems to make it unendingly difficult for them to achieve closure for public failures which have cost them dear. In the five years that I have been an MP, parliament has been dealing not just with this inquiry but others, including the outrage that is the Hillsborough disaster, the Grenfell tragedy of almost six years ago, and the Manchester Arena bombing.

Each of those incidents is characterised by families facing an individual and unimaginable heartbreak while simultaneously having to cope with the impenetrable machinery of authority and government. Every time we, and those who have suffered, ask that lessons are learned. That nobody else has to go through the same interminable torment in their search for justice. Because it is justice that they seek for themselves or their loved ones. Compensation is rarely a major consideration.

Each time we try, as a society, to learn. But somehow each time we fall short and another tragedy emerges that could have been avoided if only we had learned. As they await the result of the inquiry, the families at the centre of the infected blood scandal will be hoping for that justice. And closure.

You can read the whole article here.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

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