SOME 250 victims of the contaminated blood products scandal, including scores with ties to the Oxford Haemophilia Centre, have called on the government to ensure the Department of Health does not manage the inquiry.

Last week prime minister Theresa May announced a full-scale inquiry into the disaster, which saw haemophiliacs treated with blood clotting agents infected with HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 80s.

About 2,400 have died, including many treated with infected batches of Factor VIII at the Oxford centre.

Earlier this month 400 people, represented by Collins Solicitors, began proceedings to sue the Department of Health at the High Court.

In an open letter to the prime minister issued on Saturday, 250 members of the group stated: "We echo the commonly held view that this should be a full public inquiry with statutory powers, for example to compel witnesses to provide evidence under oath and produce documents. Anything less would be unacceptable.

"Our members will not welcome an Inquiry where the remit or handling is the responsibility of the Department of Health. Due to the historical issues and nature of this Inquiry, we are firm in our stance that these responsibilities should be taken away from the Department of Health. The continued handling of this matter by the Department of Health will not command the trust of our community.

"A strict and progressive timetable should be implemented as soon as possible. We do not want months-long consultations, and we expect the

Inquiry framework to be in place for Autumn 2017."

Signatories include Woodstock resident Janette Johnson, whose son Graham, 15, died from HIV after a transfusion in the 1970s.