VICTIMS and relatives of the contaminated blood scandal believe the long-awaited Penrose Report into the contaminated blood scandal is nothing but a “whitewash”.

Some were so infuriated by the lack of action from the six-year investigation into how thousands were infected by the NHS that they set fire to the 1800-page report after details were revealed at the National Museum in Edinburgh.

Victims and support groups who have been helping them fight for justice since the 1990s felt let down by the £12 million inquiry by former High Court judge Lord Penrose, who is ill in hospital and was unable to attend the historic unveiling.

The inquiry concluded little could have been done differently and Lord Penrose only made one recommendation, which was that anyone in Scotland who had a blood transfusion before 1991 should be tested for Hepatitis C.

Scottish Infected Blood Forum convener Philip Dolan MBE said: “It was a whitewash. That’s what I said on the first day the inquiry was set up when Lord Penrose’s opening statement said this inquiry is funded by NHS Scotland and every pound spent takes a pound away from health and doctors away from patients.

“With the money that has been spent on it, he has only come up with one recommendation. People were totally stunned. They were expecting much more after six years of waiting. They were quite understandably angry and frustrated.

“As part of the scoping exercise we put forward 16 recommendations, all of which have been ignored.”

Haemophilia sufferer Dolan, who found out in 1991 that he had contracted Hepatitis C from infected blood products, was disgusted that only six victims were allowed to give evidence at the inquiry out of 60 witnesses.

Lord Penrose has established that a series of warnings were ignored by the NHS.

Haemophilia campaign groups believe that if the warnings had been heeded, disaster could have been averted.

Bill Wright, chairman of Haemophilia Scotland, who is among those affected, was close to tears when he spoke after the details of the report emerged and insisted “this is by no means the end of the story”.

He told fellow victims: “When we read this, we were raging too. But there is some daylight we will try to offer you.

“Put into context, this catastrophe is bigger than any transport, football stadium, bombing or shooting atrocity, or British disaster at sea. The difference is that our fate was spread across Scotland and Britain over many years.

“Today, after 30 years of waiting, is not about broken processes. It is about broken lives. It is about the irresistible case for ministers and politicians to finally act.”

Wright added the report was the culmination of “decades of searching for the truth”.

He said: “At first sight the report appears to disorganised and impenetrable. Worse still, it might appear on first reading to be a whitewash, with frankly some of the chairman’s assertions seemingly barely rational.

“Look a bit deeper and there is a narrative setting out the case that cannot be avoided by the government and its moral responsibility.”

He said there needed to be an “official apology”, better compensation and a review of the report.

Victim Bruce Norval described the report as a “a piece of nonsense”.

He said: “It does not match the evidence, it does not match the charges. It doesn’t address the main issues. It degrades patient opinion against medical opinion despite the fact that doctors very clearly have more to lose through an adverse report than we do.

“Our campaign is about getting proper compensation for victims and families. I want the legislation elements to be looked at. I want a memorial more than anything, 2,000 haemophiliacs have died so far.

“We need a memorial, we need somewhere for our families to go and be able to know that the country is not ignoring what happened to us.”



ROBERT Mackie, who is battling Aids after being treated with infected blood products, reacted with anger at the report, claiming it was a whitewash.

He said: “I’m devastated, absolutely outraged. A total whitewash; a waste of taxpayers’ money and time. This was an international disaster.

“Medical and scientific information was out there a lot earlier than Penrose is putting forward in his report.

“It’s unacceptable. I could have infected my wife, I could have infected family, I could have infected friends.

“Fortunately for the world community, I was not promiscuous.”

Mackie revealed how 14 of his friends and family had died from the virus.

He said all of them were given an infected batch of Factor VIII – a product that helps blood to clot – in the 1980s.

Father-of-one Mackie, 64, from Peebles, in the Borders, who has haemophilia, said HIV and Aids had robbed him and his wife Alice of the chance of having more children and that they both lost their careers.

He said: “The more people I knew died, the more angry I got. I can’t go to funerals any more because I went to so many. We all knew each other because we socialised, particularly as kids, and had spent time in hospital together.

“I come from a large family of haemophiliacs. One of my uncles was a severe haemophiliac and got a kidney transplant.

“He survived that. He was a tough boy. But he never survived Aids.

“Two uncles and a cousin got HIV. They are all dead.”


IN 1988 Gill Fyfe had a blood transfusion following post-natal complications after giving birth to her second child.

Since then the former teacher has suffered debilitating symptoms including extreme fatigue.

Gill, 55, said: "Even now I can’t work, there’s still huge consequences and sacrifices for my family and I can say that after 25 years that every single decision we make is different from what we would have done had I not been contaminated.

‘‘I can understand why people were angry because a lot of those who were at the press conference were very ill or have lost a loved one. I am one of the relatively lucky ones so if someone is angry I fully understand why."


BRUCE Norval, who was contaminated with Hepatitis C when he was just three -years-old, described the Penrose Inquiry report as “a piece of nonsense”.

Bruce, 50, said “It does not match the evidence, it does not match the charges. It doesn’t address the main issues. It degrades patient opinion against medical opinion despite the fact that doctors very clearly have more to lose through an adverse report than we do.”

Bruce, who lives with his wife Christine on the Black Isle and can hardly walk, said it had been a massive struggle to get benefits which only “compounds” victims’ feeling of worthlessness.

He said: “My condition now means the only sensation my nerves pick up is pain -- it feels like bumblebees are trying to fly backwards through my fingers.

“I go through periods of stress and depression, but that depression has turned to anger. I want answers. I want an apology and proper compensation.”STEPHENHAEMOPHILIAC Stephen Wheatley was infected with Hepatitis C through a blood transfusion and was diagnosed in the late 1980s.

The 53-year-old had a liver transplant almost three years ago and continues to suffer from ill health. Mr Wheatley, from Bonnybridge near Falkirk, said: “I’ve been through a liver transplant and it’s affecting my new liver as we speak.

He said: “There are still many people who don’t know they have actually got it. Some people maybe don’t want to know.”