Colofn: Cyfiawnder ar gyfer dioddefwyr sgandal gwaed

Mae Sioned Williams AS yn ysgrifennu am y sgandal gwaed heintiedig, a pham mae angen cyfiawnder o hyd

The graphic shows a photograph of the article by Sioned Williams MS on the infected blood scandal, as it appears in the Western Mail.The photograph is set on a dark green background, with Sioned Williams' name, region and logos of Plaid Cymru and the Senedd at the bottom of the image.

Cyhoeddwyd yr erthygl hon yn y Western Mail (yn Saesneg) ddydd Llun 17 Mehefin 2024.


Infected Blood Scandal

“To save face and to save expense, there has been a hiding of much of the truth.”

The words of Sir Brian Langstaff, chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, are as shocking as they are to the point, and for this reason I chose them as my opening words in the recent debate on the Infected Blood Scandal in the Senedd.

As the Senedd discussed Welsh Government’s response to the recently released Inquiry report we were watched on by Welsh families who had been impacted by this scandal.

These families might be linked by a common thread, but their stories are unique, and I argued that the circumstances of each family affected must be considered, recognised and fairly and equally compensated.

Two of the people watching on were sisters Sharon and Rhian from the Swansea Valley, and their story has stayed with me long after I first heard of it.

Their late father, Arwyn Davies, was a haemophiliac who was under the care of Professor Arthur Bloom, the Welsh haemophiliac specialist named in Sir Brian Langstaff's damning report.

Arwyn Davies died in 1992, aged 60 years. His death certificate stated he died of hepatitis C, hepatoma and haemophilia. However, it was only after their mother’s death, some 26 years later, that Rhian and Sharon become aware of what was written on their father’s death certificate.

During those 26 years, no contact was made to inform any of the family of any of the risks they had been made subject to, or to inform them they were entitled to any kind of benefit payments.

Those 26 years were tough on their mother, marked by financial hardship and ill health, with no support.

It was distressing to hear how long and hard a battle it was for Rhian and Sharon to obtain medical records relating to their father, as they campaigned for justice for their family. But they finally got proof, which confirmed their father was given contaminated factor and that the consultants were aware of how he had died.

Since obtaining this information, they've been working with the infected blood inquiry and Haemophilia Wales to ensure that someone is held to account. And although Sir Brian Langstaff took the unusual step of announcing interim compensation ahead of the final report, this was only for the living infected and the bereaved widows.

Now, after fighting for so long to get to the truth,  Sharon and Rhian have, as yet, only been offered a verbal apology from the state. They’ve not even received an apology from their health board. They have never been provided with compensation or recognition of their parent’s death.

While today’s governments are led by people who were still children when the scandal started, they should be fighting for people like Rhian and Sharon to ensure they get the justice and redress they deserve. Welsh Government must back calls on the UK Government to provide compensation for all families affected by this terrible scandal. It’s not only morally right, it’s also a symbol of the apology that is owed to all those whose whole lives have been scarred by loss and by lies.

Mae hyn yn dechrau gyda chi

Ganddyn nhw mae'r arian, ond gennym ni mae'r bobl. Os yw pawb sy'n ymweld â'r wefan hon yn ymuno â'n symudiad yna does dim na allwn ei gyflawni.