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Infected Blood Inquiry chief 'won't hesitate to name names' as first phase of hearings closes

PUBLISHED: 18:01 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:02 06 November 2019

Factor VII blood products, Sir Brian Langstaff. Picture: Factor VIII / Infected Blood Inquiry

Factor VII blood products, Sir Brian Langstaff. Picture: Factor VIII / Infected Blood Inquiry

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After 12 weeks of public hearings, the Infected Blood Inquiry heard from the last - for now - "infected and affected" witnesses on Friday.

A young Mark Ward - this picture was shown to the Infected Blood Inquiry. Picture: Mark WardA young Mark Ward - this picture was shown to the Infected Blood Inquiry. Picture: Mark Ward

The inquiry will resume and hear from from medical experts in February 2020,NHS decision-makers will be quizzed in June.

Sir Brian Langstaff, the former judge who is leading the inquiry, paid tribute to those who had given evidence so far, and re-iterated that the door was always open for witnesses.

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He said: "It is to me remarkable that so many, despite their mixed emotions, have wanted to give evidence."

Mark Stewart, infected with hepatitis C after being given contaminated Factor VIII blood products. Picture: Stewart familyMark Stewart, infected with hepatitis C after being given contaminated Factor VIII blood products. Picture: Stewart family

This phase of evidence has seen a number of witnesses - including Della Ryness-Hirsch, Mark Ward and Mark Stewart - discuss alleged failings in haemophilia care at the Royal Free Hospital.

Clinicians, such as those from the Royal Free, are expected to be among those to appear before the Inquiry in June. More witnesses will be able to give evidence, and Sir Brian added he remained set on concluding the inquiry with the voices of those impacted by the treatment disaster - which saw thousands given blood products containing viruses like HIV and hepatitis C.

The former judge added he welcomed news that the government was "committed" to equalising support for those affected across the UK even as the inquiry continues.

He added he would "not hesitate to name names" in his report, and said: "If there was fault, I intend to say so. And where actions are to be taken in remedy, I expect to make robust recommendations."

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