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Norwich man welcomes hepatitis decision

PUBLISHED: 08:09 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:53 02 July 2010

Michael Colyer

Michael Colyer

Dan Grimmer

A Norwich man who was infected with hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products is today celebrating after health campaigners crossed a major hurdle in the fight against justice.

A Norwich man who was infected with hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products is today celebrating after health campaigners crossed a major hurdle in the fight against justice.

Michael Colyer, 57, was one of thousands of haemophiliacs who became infected from an anti-blood clotting agent used in hospitals from at least 1960 to 1985.

Victims and their families have spent decades trying to get answers from what has been described as a “horrific human tragedy” which caused the death of almost 2,000 haemophiliacs.

However last year a long awaited independent report into the tragedy was released by Lord Archer of Sandwell but the Contaminated Blood Support for Infected Persons Bill based on the report - and offering a fair deal for those contaminated in the blood disaster - was again blocked in Parliament this year.

Now, in what has been described as an historic day by health campaigners, the judicial review has been successful and the government's decision not to accept the Archer Report's recommendations has been quashed by the High Court.

Mr Colyer, from Colman Road, said: “This is a major step for us. It means the government cannot appeal against legitimate recommendations made by a thorough report.

“A lot of people died and many more are seriously ill because of what happened and this is not just about compensation but about the government admitted that these mistakes were avoidable. It should not take a High Court to prove this.

“The government has blocked this time and time again and now they have to listen to the recommendations. We still have a long way to go but we have crossed a hurdle and we will keep on fighting until the bitter end.”

Hepatitis C causes severe inflammation of the liver. The NHS bought blood from US suppliers who used what became known as “skid row” donors such as prison inmates who were more likely to have HIV and hepatitis C.

The recommendations include ensuring victims and their families get adequate compensation, recognition of the mistakes made by the NHS and healthcare for victims.

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