Sometimes you hear a story on the news and it brings back echoes. Yesterday I heard the first reports about an investigation being opened into what kind of Factor Eight (a blood component) the NHS has provided for haemophiliacs.
Back in the '90s I wrote a story for The Independent which you can read here about a local boy I knew whose parents were worried that he was being given human Factor Eight - which could potentially carry the Aids virus - instead of the manufactured type. I was amazed back then how very quickly the hospital backed down; I wrote one story, and within days all the haemophiliac children at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead were given the artificial - safer - Factor Eight.
At the time I thought, wow, sometimes being a journalist can be a really effective thing. But even then I was surprised at how fast the hospital acted: a couple of enquiries from a freelance journalist, one story in the paper and kaboom! hospital policy changed. Now I wonder just how uneasy the hospital was already feeling, and why it took a newspaper story to get them to act.