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British Liver Trust response to BBC’s Panorama programme ‘Contaminated Blood: The Search for the Truth’

Tonight’s Panorama programme investigated the historic use of contaminated blood when, over 25 years ago, patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C. The programme features a heart-breaking story about a patient with hepatitis C who has only recently been diagnosed as a result of receiving contaminated blood.

The British Liver Trust strongly supports the call for an inquiry to investigate and report on what happened and what could have been done differently. However, we believe that most people who were infected with contaminated blood have now been diagnosed.

Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect the liver. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years. It is therefore vital that you are diagnosed as soon as possible. There are often no symptoms in the early stages but there are now very effective treatments and cures so the British Liver Trust recommends that if you are at risk you get tested. The people most at risk are those who are exposed to blood and blood products, so you should get tested if you

  • have received blood products in the UK before 1992
  • have received medical or dental treatment or blood products abroad
  • have had a tattoo or piercing abroad or in an unlicensed parlour
  • were born in a country where hepatitis C is common.
  • have ever shared any drug-using paraphernalia
  • have unprotected sex

If you need further information about hepatitis C please see our leaflet https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/liver-information/liver-conditions/hepatitis-c/

If you have further questions you can call our Helpline on 0800 652 7330 (10am to 3pm Monday to Friday) or call the Hepatitis C Trust (see below)

The Skipton Fund is a UK-wide ex gratia payment scheme to make payments to certain people who were infected with hepatitis C through treatment with NHS blood or blood products prior to September 1991 and other persons eligible for payment in accordance with the scheme’s provisions. Further details are available on their website

http://www.skiptonfund.org/

If you require support in applying please speak to your consultant. Alternatively, the Hepatitis C Trust offers an advocacy service. Call their Helpline for further details (0845 223 4424 or 020 7089 6221 – open 10.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday)

A Group Legal Action for those infected with Hepatitis C or Hepatitis C & HIV via the use of Contaminated Factor VIII and Factor XI in the 1970’s and 1980’ is being led by Collins Law. If you are interested in finding out more or registering your  interest, contact Collins Law directly on 0800 731 5821. See also:  http://www.collinslaw.co.uk

Please note that the British Liver Trust is not directly involved in this legal action and cannot directly support any claimants.

 

 

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