Chancellor urged to ease hardship of contaminated blood victims

Written by Aaron Dennis, February 4, 2021

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has been urged to make more money available to “level up” support for UK victims of the contaminated blood scandal.

In a joint letter from Clive Smith, chair of The Haemophilia Society UK, Bill Wright, chair of Haemophilia Scotland and Simon Hamilton, chair of Haemophilia NI, Mr Sunak was asked to give a “meaningful response” to repeated demands for increased funding across the four home nations.

The call for action from the three national haemophilia organisations comes as the Infected Blood Inquiry prepares to turn its attention to the trusts and schemes that were created to support those infected and affected by the contaminated blood scandal.

Chair of the inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, has already spoken publicly of the “grinding hardship” experienced by so many affected by the scandal and has called for “decisive action” to deal with this before the inquiry finishes its investigations.

The current system of financial support for those infected as a result of NHS treatment with contaminated blood products makes different payments, depending on whether someone was infected in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. This can result in differences of tens of thousands of pounds in financial support a year.

Mr Sunak has been urged to address this “unjust” system by releasing extra funds which, through the Barnett consequential, would give devolved governments as well as the Department of Health and Social Care in England, the opportunity to make improvements to the UK’s four infected blood support schemes.

The letter concludes: “Only the Treasury is in a position to seize the window of opportunity to demonstrate a meaningful response to the calls to action from the chair of the inquiry.”

Last week, The Haemophilia Society UK wrote to the Paymaster General, Penny Mordaunt MP, asking her to address the issue of fair financial support for victims of the contaminated blood scandal. You can read the letter here.