A full inquiry will be carried out into the contaminated blood scandal, the Government has announced.
It will be overseen by the Cabinet Office and not the Department of Health, who are implicated in the tragedy.
Ministers have not yet confirmed when it will be held and whether it will be led by a judge – as families want.
The scandal has been described as the worst in the NHS’s history and claimed the lives of 2,400 patients who contracted HIV or hepatitis.
It occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, when hospitals were running low on stocks of a blood clotting agent given to haemophiliac patients or those having transfusions.
A full inquiry into the contiminated blood scandal will be overseen by the Cabinet Office and not the Department of Health, who are implicated in the tragedy. File image used
NHS officials bought in supplies from the USA taken from high risk groups including prisoners, prostitutes and drug addicts who had donated their blood for cash.
Many patients given the clotting agents contracted HIV and hepatitis from these high risk groups and the clotting agents had never been screened.
The Government initially agreed to hold the inquiry in July following a campaign by the Mail and other newspapers and broadcasters.
Yesterday they announced further details of the form the inquiry – but did not say when it would take place.
They also refused to specify whether it would be led by a judge or a panel, like the Hillsborough inquiry.
Families had requested a judge-led inquiry in the belief it would be more rigorous and get to the bottom of who was to blame.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: ‘We have been absolutely clear of our determination to establish what happened in relation to the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s and to work with the families of those affected, and we are now moving forward with that process.
‘There was a strong view that it should be done away from the Department of Health.
‘We have listened to those views and that’s why it will be conducted under the auspices of the Cabinet Office.’
A spokesman for the Haemophilia Society said they hoped the inquiry would be ‘a turning point in helping victims of this scandal finally get the justice they have long deserved.
But Factor 8, a group representing victims and families affected by the scandal, said the announcement was too late and short on detail.
A spokesman said: ‘We find ourselves in despair that a chair has still not been appointed and that the inquiry is still not established.’
Dame Anita Roddick (pictured), founder of the Body Shop, was among the 7,500 patients who became seriously ill as a result of the scandal. She died of hepatitis C in 2007
The scandal first came to light in the mid-1980s – at the height of the Aids epidemic- when experts became aware of the dangers of contaminated blood transfusions.
But newly unearthed documents – published by the Mail – suggest British scientists and Department of Health civil servants may have been aware of the risks much earlier.
They were uncovered by the son of one of the victims, Jason Evans, 28, who spent a year trawling freedom of information responses and archives.
An estimated 7,500 patients contracted hepatitis or HIV after being given the products, many of whom had the blood clotting disorder haemophilia
Victims included Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of the Body Shop, who was given a blood transfusion in 1971 whilst giving birth to her daughter Sam.
She contracted hepatitis C and died of liver failure in 2007.