At least 160 people infected with HIV or hepatitis C by contaminated blood products and blood transfusions have died since a public inquiry was announced, according to new figures obtained by campaigners.
Freedom of Information requests to the four national bodies responsible for administering financial support to victims reveal that 90 people have died in the last year – roughly one every four days.
Responses to the Tainted Blood campaign group, passed to Sky News, show 131 victims died in England, 25 in Scotland, and two each in Wales and Northern Ireland between July 2017 and May 2019.
The statistics do not include victims who may not be part of financial support schemes, so the total figure could be higher.
The new numbers come as the Infected Blood Inquiry resumes in Leeds, where chairman Sir Brian Langstaff warned of the toll HIV and hepatitis C is taking on victims as the inquiry proceeds.
Referring to a witness who is too ill to give evidence this week or even for the inquiry to go to him, he said: “It underscores the importance of time which is not our friend.”
Almost 3,000 people have died as a consequence of being infected with HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s.
Many of them were haemophiliacs who received blood factor products, intended to aid clotting, imported from the US and made from plasma sourced from high-risk groups including prisoners, drug users and sex workers who were paid to donate blood.
While there have been criminal prosecutions and legal action in other countries affected, including the US, Canada and France, there has been no acknowledgement of wrongdoing or negligence in the UK and no apology to victims.
The inquiry, which will hear evidence in London, Belfast, Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh, is expected to last two years.