UK Blood Contamination Scandal: Over 30,000 People Infected with HIV and Hepatitis C Due to Blood Transfusions; Prime Minister Apologizes


The UK revealed its largest medical “blood contamination scandal” investigation report on May 20th, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued an apology in response. The report exposed a severe blood contamination incident that occurred in the UK between the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in approximately 30,000 people being infected with hepatitis C and HIV, with around 3,000 deaths. On May 21st, the government announced plans to pay compensation of up to several billion pounds.
Prime Minister Sunak expressed remorse on behalf of the government, acknowledging that the investigation report had shaken the nation’s core. He referred to this day as a “national shame” and pledged full compensation for those affected.

The UK government intends to make interim payments of £210,000 to living victims within 90 days, with the formal compensation scheme set to begin by the end of the year. However, some individuals may face challenges in applying for compensation due to a lack of medical records.

The report attributed the “blood contamination scandal” to errors by doctors and the government. In an attempt to protect their image and save costs, the government chose to conceal the truth.

According to reports, during the 1970s and 1980s, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) provided contaminated blood to hemophilia patients and others with blood disorders, resulting in exposure to HIV or hepatitis C. Due to blood shortages in the UK at the time, they imported blood products from the United States. These blood products were collected from thousands of individuals, including paid donations from prisoners, without proper screening.

The scandal only gained public attention in 2016 when victims and their families pressured the government to investigate and reveal the truth. In 2021, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated that if the allegations were confirmed, the government would pay substantial compensation. Notably, in 1970, similar infections affected thousands of people in countries such as Japan, Canada, and the United States, leading to legal actions against relevant officials and suppliers.