The Penrose Inquiry recommendation

Short-life working group report on the Penrose Inquiry recommendation on infection of people with Hepatitis C from NHS treatment.

1 Introduction

On 18 th April 2006, the Health Committee of the Scottish Parliament called for a Public Inquiry into the infection of people with Hepatitis C ( HCV) from NHS treatment. The then Scottish Executive decided not to hold an Inquiry but the Scottish National Party made a commitment in its 2007 Manifesto to hold such an Inquiry if elected to form the Government in Scotland.

On 23 April 2008, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing made a statement to the Scottish Parliament, announcing the establishment of the promised Inquiry which would examine the circumstances in which the infections occurred, up to the introduction for a test for Hepatitis C in donated blood in 1991. A Judicial Review, challenging the original decision by the Scottish Executive, was critical in securing the Penrose Inquiry

The Cabinet Secretary confirmed that the Inquiry would also examine infection with HIV in the course of NHS Treatment in Scotland. The Inquiry was to be chaired by Lady Cosgrove but, in September 2008, she withdrew for family reasons and Lord Penrose was appointed to succeed her.

The Penrose Inquiry, published on March 25, 2015, concluded that there will be people in Scotland who received transfusion of blood or blood components from a donor who was HCV-positive in the period before the introduction of screening for the virus and who acquired HCV but have not yet been diagnosed. The Inquiry therefore recommended " that the Scottish Government takes all reasonable steps to offer an HCV test to everyone in Scotland who had a blood transfusion before September 1991 and who has not been tested for HCV".

In light of the Penrose Inquiry recommendation, the Scottish Government recommended that a Short-Life Working Group, involving key stakeholders including those from the Scottish Government and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, be established by Health Protection Scotland.


Email: Robert Girvan,

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