THE Scottish Government has said it is determined to ensure “lessons have been learned” from the infected blood scandal after a UK inquiry into the disaster was concluded.

The Infected Blood Inquiry found the scandal could “largely have been avoided” and there was a “pervasive” cover up to hide the truth.

Deliberate attempts were made to conceal the disaster, including evidence of Whitehall officials destroying documents.

Patients were knowingly exposed to unacceptable risks of infection, the probe found, while the extensive report concluded there were a “catalogue of failures” which had “catastrophic consequences”.

More than 30,000 people were infected with deadly viruses between the 1970s and 1990s with more than 3000 dead as a result.

READ MORE: Labour want to simplify changing gender after Scottish plans blocked

Public health minister Jenni Minto (below) said she welcomed the report and confirmed an oversight group had been set up by the Government to consider the inquiry’s recommendations.

The National: Women’s health minister Jenni Minto

This will involve senior staff from NHS boards and the Government, along with charities representing the infected and affected.

She said: “I welcome the Infected Blood Inquiry’s report and thank the Inquiry Chair and staff for their work in producing such a comprehensive final document.

"Today is about those who have been infected, their families and support organisations and I want to pay tribute to them. They have been focussed on ensuring the impact of this terrible tragedy, their suffering, has not been ignored.

“On behalf of the Scottish Government, I reiterate our sincere apology to those who have been infected or affected by NHS blood or blood products.

“The Scottish Government has already accepted the moral case for compensation for infected blood victims and is committed to working with the UK Government to ensure any compensation scheme works as well as possible for victims.

“We are determined to use the inquiry’s report to ensure lessons have been learned so a tragedy like this can never happen again.”

READ MORE: Dundee scientists discover potential new drug to treat Alzheimer's

Minto added the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service has “high standards” of safety and encouraged people who can to give blood.

The oversight group will coordinate work to consider and make progress on recommendations, working with other relevant organisations and groups to take forward key actions needed to respond to the inquiry’s findings.

It will be chaired by the Scottish Government’s director of population Health, Christine McLaughlin, and include representatives from organisations such as the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, the health boards, Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum.

The failures highlighted in the inquiry’s report included people with bleeding disorders being treated without proper consent and research being carried out on them without their knowledge.

Children with bleeding disorders who attended Treloar College, where pupils with haemophilia were treated at an on-site NHS centre, were also treated as “objects for research”.

The report said these children were given “multiple, riskier” treatments.

Sir Brian Langstaff, inquiry chairman, described the disaster as a “calamity” adding that the scale of what happened is “horrifying”.