Blood scandal exposes systemic hypocrisy

The regulators are used as a way to silence healthcare professionals

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This last week we found ourselves in the midst of a harrowing revelation, as the headlines of every major newspaper are dominated by the infected blood scandal. This catastrophic event, where thousands of innocent lives, including children, were irrevocably damaged by the administration of HIV-contaminated blood, is a stark reminder of the systemic failures and gross negligence that can pervade our institutions. The Infected Blood Inquiry Report lays bare a tale of horrifying mismanagement: warnings were ignored, unnecessary treatments administered, and the risks were deliberately downplayed while benefits were overstated. The report further exposes a disturbing cover-up that spans decades, encompassing the NHS, pharmaceutical companies, civil servants, and ministers.

This reveals the chilling extent to which those entrusted with public health and safety failed us. As the report states, there was a pervasive attitude of denial towards the risks, false reassurances given to the public, and a blatant disregard for informed consent, particularly among children and their parents. The ethical breaches detailed in the report—research conducted without proper consent, failure to disclose risks, and the lack of patient safety prioritisation—paint a grim picture of systemic failure and moral bankruptcy.

As we digest these revelations, it is impossible to ignore the eerie parallels to the unfolding covid vaccine scandal. Much like the infected blood scandal, the covid vaccine has seen mis-governance at every level and denial that has now lasted years. There is no shortage of injured people who should be listened to, and yet the state machinery remains silent, refusing to disclose data and ignoring the concerns raised by Parliamentarians.

Here are some choice excerpts from the report to demonstrate where the parallels lie:

There was “An attitude of denial towards the risks of treatment

Treating children unnecessarily

Falsely reassuring the public and patients

Systemic collective and individual failures to deal ethically, appropriately and quickly with the risk…

The “Scale of what has happened is horrifying

Failure to put patient safety first

Failing to tell people of the risks of treatment and of available alternative treatments, thus treating them without their informed consent.”

Conducting research on people without, in many cases, telling them (or in the case of children, their parents) beforehand, or informing them of the risks and whether the research would enhance their treatment or primarily benefit others, and without obtaining properly informed consent.”

absence of any meaningful apology and redress

A lack of openness, transparency and candour, shown by the NHS and government, such that the truth has been hidden for decades.

The most shameful aspect of the whole episode has been how long it has taken for the harm to be formally acknowledged. The report says:

It will be astonishing to anyone who reads this Report that these events could have happened in the UK. It may also be surprising that the questions why so many deaths and infections occurred have not had answers before now.”

Is it really astonishing that such a cover up of pharmaceutical harm could happen in the UK when it is happening again right now?

The head of the GMC, Dr Carrie MacEwan, wrote to all doctors about this report saying there were:

media reports alleging that a number of NHS managers have taken actions to silence whistleblowers, including threatening referral to the GMC.

We are of course aware that referrals to us are sometimes used to intimidate. This is completely unacceptable, has significant consequences for doctors’ wellbeing and puts the safety of patients at risk.

We’ve put a number of safeguards in place to help make sure that the referrals that come to us are fair, appropriate, and proportionate. We are continuously assessing how these are working and whether further interventions are needed to prevent retaliatory or weaponised referrals.”

Is Dr MacEwan unaware that every single doctor who has raised concerns about the covid vaccines has been targeted by the GMC? Is she unaware that the GMC decided there was no good reason to open an investigation into Dr Aseem Malhotra but then reversed this decision after capitulating to campaigners? How is that preventing “retaliatory or weaponised referrals.”?

This vaccine scandal mirrors the infected blood disaster in its potential scale and severity. It seems that, once again, the NHS, ministers, and civil servants might be complicit in downplaying risks and overstating benefits, all while public trust is eroded. 

We are at a critical juncture. The lessons from the infected blood scandal must not be ignored. We must demand accountability, transparency, and a commitment to putting patient safety above all else. There needs to be an urgent, open and unbiased investigation of the harm caused by the covid vaccines but moreover there needs to be an overhaul in how medicines are regulated in this country. The regulator failed the public and has a history of having done so for decades. The public is not safe with our current system of medicines regulations. Like in medicine, the very first role of the state should be to First Do No Harm. That concept needs to be given primacy if we want to regain public trust.

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