A HAEMOPHILIAC infected with HIV and hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood has finally been granted permission to sue the government for compensation.

Mark Ward, 48, from Peacehaven, was one of thousands of haemophiliacs across the UK infected with either HIV or hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood products during the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Ward was diagnosed with haemophilia when he was 14 and began his treatment the same year, receiving various blood products through the NHS.

Earlier this week a High Court judge granted a group litigation order allowing around 500 surviving victims and relatives of those who have died to begin legal proceedings.

Mr Ward, who is now medically retired after a successful career working for British Airways, said: “I am feeling mixed emotions right now because I have been battling for justice for so long.

“It has had such a severe psychological as well as physical impact on me and destroyed my life at a young age.

“I have never seen one word in the minutes of NHS meetings where they have discussed or tried methods to do with prevention of harm relating to this case.

“One consultant is even quoted as saying, ‘haemophiliacs will just have to get used to hepatitis, it is just a fact of life’.”

“I have never been driven by money in terms of seeking justice and it won’t take away the fear I have had to get through over the years.

“People referring to HIV and Aids as the gay plague and the effect on my parents and the way they have been treated is appalling.

“I speak for those who are not around any more due to this scandal. We were being exposed to thousands of different strains of many different viruses.”

Mr Ward was infected at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead and previously told The Argus a nurse shouted his diagnosis across a waiting room.

The products were intended to help treat haemophiliacs like Mr Ward, but came from high-risk donors such as prostitutes and prisoners.

More than 2,400 people are estimated to have died in what has been called the “biggest scandal in NHS history” after receiving the blood products, which were contaminated with hepatitis C and HIV.

The High Court judge dismissed attempts by Department of Health lawyers to delay the claim.

The claims have been brought forward partly out of frustration at government delays in establishing a public inquiry into the scandal.

Senior Master Fontaine, who heard the application in court, ruled: “It would not be sensible to delay further.

“The question of a public inquiry is a matter within the government’s hands.”

Prime Minister Theresa May announced there would be an investigation in July but since then no chair has been appointed. Mr Ward added: “I had full blown aids before there was even medication for it. The government can’t continue to shy away from the damage caused.”