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To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will commission an independent inquiry into hepatitis C and other infections contracted from contaminated blood products in Scotland.

Answered by Susan Deacon (11/04/2000): A fact-finding exercise into specific aspects of this issue has been underway for some months now. I met with the Haemophilia Society in September 1999 to discuss their concerns first hand and thereafter tasked my officials with ascertaining the facts surrounding the heat treatment of blood products for haemophiliacs in the mid-1980s. This will assess whether haemophilia patients in Scotland were exposed to the risks of the Hepatitis C virus through blood products longer than they should have been, given the state of knowledge at the time. The outcome of this investigation will allow me to decide whether any further action is warranted.

The Haemophilia Society, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and the Scottish Haemophilia Directors have all been asked to provide information. My officials are currently analysing the information gathered. This is a complex area and it would be premature to comment on possible outcomes until all the facts have been properly examined. I have undertaken to make the findings available to the Health and Community Care Committee and to the public.

Current Status: Answered by Susan Deacon on 11/04/2000