David & Goliath

Factor 8/Jason Evans –Contaminated Blood Scandal

Gone were the days of ‘let’s be patient and try to build bridges’… We’re going for this 100%, we’re going to expose the injustice and battle however we can.

The Campaign

In the 1970s and 80s, 4,689 British haemophiliacs were treated with blood products contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C. More than half of them have died.

Jason Evans is the founder of Factor 8, a campaign for the victims of the Contaminated Blood Scandal and their families. Just two years after the campaign began, a public inquiry and legal action to establish liability are both underway.

As Jason puts it, ‘I think something that fuelled our renewed campaign was a new energy, particularly from those whose parents had died, we were grown up now, and we were angry. I think that energy spread to the older campaigners who had been let down by the Government time and time again.’

awards

Both I and everyone involved with Factor 8 are incredibly grateful to have been shortlisted for this award. It is particularly significant to us given Sheila McKechnie’s campaigning on this very issue in the 1980s, and I pay tribute to her efforts too.

I think my advice to any campaigner would be to have a real passion for your cause. From my experience, especially if you’re going against the powers that be, you can’t just dabble or treat it like a job you don’t want to be doing. That’s what’s going to make you answer your phone at 9pm, jump on a train tomorrow to be at the crucial meeting, or sacrifice a whole weekend to work on an urgent press release and strategy.”

Jason Evans

awards

Both I and everyone involved with Factor 8 are incredibly grateful to have been shortlisted for this award. It is particularly significant to us given Sheila McKechnie’s campaigning on this very issue in the 1980s, and I pay tribute to her efforts too.

I think my advice to any campaigner would be to have a real passion for your cause. From my experience, especially if you’re going against the powers that be, you can’t just dabble or treat it like a job you don’t want to be doing. That’s what’s going to make you answer your phone at 9pm, jump on a train tomorrow to be at the crucial meeting, or sacrifice a whole weekend to work on an urgent press release and strategy.”

Jason Evans

The Change

Factor 8 played a key role in securing a Public Inquiry into the Contaminated Blood Scandal and supplied the evidence for a High Court case.

Last January, Factor 8 proposed a compensation framework for those impacted by the Contaminated Blood Scandal. After a lot of lobbying, the Government finally announced that it will start such an exercise. Jason said ‘I’m glad that we have made such progress, but these will always be pyrrhic victories for many of our community. There is no glory in any of this, as one of our members often reminds me.’

In addition to TV projects, such as 2017’s BBC Panorama: Contaminated Blood – The Search For The Truth, the group has also been successful in generating high-profile press coverage, including national top news stories and international news. This has renewed and expanded public understanding of the biggest treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Factor 8 also runs The Fatherless Generation, a support group for those who have lost a parent to infected clotting factor products.

 

The Future

The Contaminated Blood Groups Litigation and the Infected Blood Inquiry remain ongoing, and much of Factor 8’s work will be ensuring the best possible outcome in both.

The inquiry is due to report within the next two years. Jason and Factor 8 remain dedicated to delivering some form of closure for all of those impacted by the Scandal. They continue to provide educational resources, support networks, inquiry news and memorials at factor8scandal.uk.

Who else was involved?

Des Collins & Dani Holliday (Collins Solicitors)