A Bishops Tawton woman whose husband died after receiving contaminated blood in the 1970s hopes a public inquiry launched this week will fully expose one of the biggest scandals the NHS and the country has seen.
Sue Threakall's husband Bob was given infected blood during his haemophilia treatment, and died in 1991 at the age of 47 after contracting HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
He was one of thousands of haemophiliacs and other hospital patients given infected blood products in the 1970s and 1980s, which has led to the death of more than 2,400 people. The product was called Factor VIII, and was extracted from blood plasma donated by high-risk sources like prisoners and drug users in the USA to meet the demand.
Sue has been among many campaigning for justice since 1985, and was in attendance on the first day of the Infected Blood Inquiry at London's Fleetbank House.
Chaired by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff, the inquiry will examine the impact the scandal has had on families, how the authorities responded and whether there was a cover-up.
Sue said she hoped the scandal would be properly exposed.
She said: “I really believe there have been two scandals, the first was the infecting haemophiliacs which wholly avoidable and should never have happened, but the second is this country has been perpetuated by every government since then that has forced victims to fight for truth.
“This should have been sorted decades ago. Since the inquiry opened one more person has died every four days, not knowing whether their family is going to be all right.
“There's something fundamentally wrong in this country where victims have to fight and fight for decades to get answers and truth and some justice. You look at Hillsborough, Lockerbie, Dunblane, it goes on and on.
“It's the biggest disaster and happened over a long period of time. More than 2,500 people in one incident.
“Because those deaths have dripped in over the decades the Government has managed to get away with it. I despise what they have done to people and I will never feel any different about that, whatever happens.”
Sue said she would be happy to give evidence to the inquiry, which will see hearings take place in Belfast, Leeds, Edinburgh and Cardiff in the coming months, but has not been called.
As the inquiry opened the Government announced nearly £30million of extra money to go to the thousands affected, with bereaved partners eligible for further support through means-tested discretionary top-up payments.
Sue said the announcement was nothing more than 'window dressing'.
She said: “As far as widows and families go there is nothing for them - it's more form-filling and means testing. It's absolutely soul destroying.”