A WOMAN campaigning for justice for her husband who died after being given contaminated NHS blood has welcomed news of a Cabinet Office-led statutory inquiry.

The Government has confirmed the probe into the contaminated blood scandal will be a "full statutory inquiry" and not led by the Department of Health.

The inquiry will look into the events of the 1970s and 1980s, which left around 2,400 people dead after the NHS routinely used blood products donated by skidrow American prisoners often suffering from Hepatitis C and HIV.

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Carol Grayson, who is from Hartlepool, but lives in Newcastle, has been campaigning for justice following the death of husband Peter Longstaff, a haemophiliac who died in April 2005, aged 47.

He became infected with Hepatitis C in the 1970s when he was given unscreened human-derived blood products from the US from an NHS blood transfusion and contracted HIV in the same way in the early 1980s.

She said: "I welcome the news that the Cabinet Office is to lead the public inquiry on contaminated blood instead of the Department of Health.

"It would have been highly inappropriate for the Department of Health to investigate itself given the many allegations regarding behaviour and safety violations over the years.

"Now it is important to move forward and appoint a suitable chairperson and panel."

Mr Longstaff's brother Stephen, also a haemophiliac, died of Aids caused by infected plasma.

The registered nurse has also called for the inquiry to look separately at cases involving haemophiliacs and whole blood cases.

She added: "From day one we would like to make it clear we would like there to be separate inquiries.

"It is essential that the two cases, which were always viewed as entirely separate legal cases, continue to be viewed independently of each other within the Public Inquiry.

"It would be like comparing chalk with cheese and the safety violations and human rights abuses are also different in nature due to haemophiliacs receiving blood from skid-row, US prisons and from plasma wagons which specifically targeted gay men as plasma donors considered high risk for HIV and hepatitis during the 1970s and 1980s."

Prime Minister Theresa May announced earlier this year that an inquiry would be held into the scandal but was met with criticism by campaigners that the health department should not be involved when it was under investigation.

Downing Street said there had been around 800 responses to the consultation in setting up the inquiry.

Thousands of haemophiliacs and other patients were given blood products infected with hepatitis C and HIV.

Campaigners and families of those affected by the scandal boycotted a meeting with Department of Health officials over the remit of the UK-wide inquiry earlier this year in protest at its involvement.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The inquiry will be conducted under the responsibility of the Cabinet Office rather than by the Department of Health with immediate effect.

"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."

Families and victims had been asked whether they wanted a judge-led inquiry or a Hillsborough-style panel.

No 10 said there would be a further announcement by the end of the year on the setting up of the inquiry.

A spokesman for the Haemophilia Society said: "We welcome the Government's recognition of our concerns about the impartiality challenges the Department of Health faced regarding the contaminated blood inquiry.

"We hope the decision to make the Cabinet Office the sponsor of the now statutory inquiry will be a turning point in helping the victims of this scandal finally get the justice they have long deserved.

"We now hope a new and fresh discussion will be launched to establish the chair and terms of reference, which can now include the many groups who, like us, had felt unable to work with the Department of Health when it was so clearly conflicted."