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Survivors and relatives of people who died in infected blood scandal sue Hampshire school

A group of survivors and relatives of people who died in the infected blood scandal are suing the school where they contracted hepatitis and HIV, accusing it of “failing in its duty of care” to students.

Around 30,000 were affected by the scandal during the 1970s and 80s, which saw patients with bleeding disorders given blood contaminated with HIV and hepatitis viruses.

It has been described as the biggest treatment disaster in the NHS’s 70-year history, resulting in thousands of deaths.

A proposed group action by 36 claimants, lodged in the High Court on Friday by Collins Solicitors, alleges that a boarding school in Hampshire that specialised in teaching haemophiliacs failed in its duty of care to these pupils in the 1970s and 80s.

Pupils at Lord Mayor Treloar School (“Treloar’s”) in Alton were given experimental treatment for haemophilia without informed consent.

Since then, over 72 Treloar’s pupils have died after having been infected with Hep A, B & C and/or HIV as a result of receiving contaminated factor VIII* and IX whilst being treated at the school for their haemophilia.

Many have suffered life-long ill-health and other life-affecting consequences, the action says.

The claim is based on testimony by staff given to an ongoing infected blood inquiry.

Pupils suffered physical, psychological and psychiatric harm arising from the haemophilia treatment provided to them without their informed consent (or that of their parents) whilst under the school’s care, it is said in the claim, adding the treatment risks were not explained.

Gary Webster, 56 and the proposed lead claimant, said: “Why didn’t our headmaster or other teachers want to know what was being injected into pupils in their care at the time?

“No one at the school seemed to show the slightest curiosity over what treatment was being prescribed to us young kids nor, I now know, did they seek parental permission.”

He added: “It beggars belief. We have witnessed the deaths of so many friends while experiencing truly awful life-affecting consequences as a result of unnecessarily contracting these illnesses, is really difficult to comprehend and accept. We hope that by bringing this case such trauma can never happen to anyone else.”

Collins Solicitors is believed to be the only English firm currently advising former pupils on the legal remedies potentially available to them.

Des Collins, a senior partner at the firm, said: “We are bringing this action following new evidence heard last year at the Infected Blood Inquiry.

“The extraordinary testimonies of Treloar’s former headmaster, house master, care staff and clinicians at the hospital attached to the school made clear a total abrogation of responsibility which has had immense repercussions for my clients.”

He added: “The harrowing stories from surviving pupils describing their suffering over the decades makes for deeply uncomfortable listening. Where were even the most basic of safeguards for these children when they were pumped full of blood products of clearly dubious origin?

“The school was acting in loco parentis, yet failed in its basic duty of care to these already vulnerable boys. We are determined that they receive recognition and due recompense for the trauma they and their families have suffered over decades, if they were fortunate enough to survive. This treatment tragedy must be exposed so that nothing like it can ever be allowed to happen again.”

Treloar’s said in a statement: “We are truly saddened that about 100 of our former pupils are amongst the 4,500 men, women and children across the UK who were infected with hepatitis and/or HIV from infected blood products supplied within the NHS treatment programme.

“We are unable to comment on the legal action taken against Treloar’s at this point, but we will continue to cooperate with the public inquiry into these issues and await its outcome.”


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