Infected Blood Inquiry: Jeremy Hunt accused of breaking promises to victims | UK News

Jeremy Hunt

Tory leadership contender and ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt has been accused of not fulfilling his promises to victims of the infected blood scandal.

The widow of Mike Dorricott, who died after being diagnosed with terminal cancer linked to the hepatitis C he contracted from contaminated blood products, said Mr Hunt failed to come up with a just settlement for victims.

Another victim who was given a terminal cancer diagnosis four days ago told the public inquiry those responsible in government and the Department of Health were “criminal murderers”.

Mike Dorricott was diagnosed with terminal cancer after contracting hepatitis C through infected blood

At least 4,689 people, many of them haemophiliacs, were infected with HIV, hepatitis C or both by contaminated blood products imported from the US in the 1970s and 1980, and at least 2,944 have since died.

Ann Dorricott told the inquiry her husband had met the then-health secretary who was also their constituency MP on a number of occasions and they were on first-name terms.

In one meeting, Mr Dorricott told the politician he had terminal cancer and became “very emotional”.

Mrs Dorricott told the inquiry: “Towards the end of the meeting, Jeremy Hunt came to myself and Mike, shook our hands and said to us, ‘don’t worry about this, we’ll sort it’.

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“Those were his words.”

Mrs Dorricott said the meeting in February 2014 was to discuss “what would be a fair and final settlement for the victims of contaminated blood”.

But in a statement to the inquiry, she said “since that meeting he has not fulfilled his promise”.

Ann Dorricott says her husband met Mr Hunt on a number of occasions to discuss the scandal
Ann Dorricott says her husband met Mr Hunt on a number of occasions to discuss the scandal

A spokesperson for Jeremy Hunt said the Dorricotts were among thousands of victims of an “appalling injustice” and that he had pushed for the public inquiry and additional financial support as health secretary.

Peter Burney, from Stockport, who was infected with hepatitis C via two blood transfusions in 1976, said that while he will not live to see the end of the inquiry he was determined it should deliver justice for victims.

“I am one of the many who won’t see justice,” he said.

Peter Burney
Peter Burney has been diagnosed with terminal cancer

“And at this stage you won’t even know my name.

“But when I am done, you will remember it well – because the difference with me is I will not pass quietly.

“I will scream from the rooftops and document every part of my passing.

“Show you for a bunch of lying, murdering criminals who have stood by and watched a victim die every 96 hours without any kind of remorse and knowing that many of these victims are dying in poverty, leaving thousands of affected families in poverty and having to rely on means-tested handouts from the very people who covered up this mass murder – the Department of Health.

“You really are not fit to be called human beings.”

The inquiry will hear from 2,500 witnesses before it concludes
The infected blood inquiry will hear from 2,500 witnesses before it concludes

He added: “You need to start taking notice of the victims and the blood on your grubby little hands.”

Mr Burney also said he believed a delay in him receiving an MRI scan may have cost him his life.

“When I went for an MRI there was a 40 day delay in hospital receiving the scans, turn around is 32 days, the scan was done on 20,” he said.

“That delay has caused a delay in treatment which in my case could cost me my life.”

Mr Burney told Sky News afterwards: “It has definitely resulted in me receiving a terminal prognosis for cancer.”

He said of the infected blood scandal: “I’m just one of many thousands of victims that have suffered, and my family have suffered, as a direct result of the negligence of the Department of Health and the British government.

“Victims that are no longer with us, they no longer have a voice, but if it wasn’t for their efforts we probably wouldn’t be where we are today.

“The British government has basically stood in front and blocked every effort made by our community to bring any kind of justice or any kind of closure.”

He said he was “angry”, but “you have to try and forgive what’s happened in the past, because if you can’t try to forgive you’ll never get inner peace”.

Mr Burney continued: “What I find difficult to forgive is all our requests are falling on deaf ears.

“I cannot forgive the way they have treated the widows of the victims that have died.

“My wife will become a widow at some stage in the near future.

“My biggest fear is not dying.

Victim gives moving speech at blood inquiry

Contaminated blood victim Peter Burney gives evidence at the inquiry in Leeds

“My biggest fear is that this English Infected Blood Support Scheme will be in control of my wife and they will administer only the support they were forced into administering and will administer it in a punitive way.

“I have been infected with this virus for 40 years.

“I can’t rest in peace because I know these guys will come along and basically abuse my wife in the same way that they have abused me.”

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