Compensation scheme should ‘begin this year’
Written by Jessica Bomford, April 5, 2023
Sir Brian Langstaff, chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, has told the government that a full compensation scheme should be set up immediately and be up and running by the end of the year.
In his second interim report on compensation, Sir Brian said that ‘wrongs were done at individual, collective and systemic levels’ and stressed that ‘no time must be wasted’ in delivering redress.
Sir Brian said: ‘It is an unusual step to publish recommendations about redress in advance of
detailed findings, but I could not in conscience add to the decades-long delays many
of you have already experienced due to failures to recognise the depth of your
losses. Those delays have themselves been harmful.’
The report has been sent to the government and we now await a response. Unless the government accepts and implements these recommendations, they will not happen.
The main points of the report are:
- Compensation scheme to be set up now to begin work this year
- Compensation scheme to be established before the inquiry makes its final report
- Interim compensation payment of £100,000 to be extended to bereaved parents, children and siblings, unless a claim has already been made against an estate (see p60 of the report)
- Affected family members to be eligible to make their own individual claim (see p82 of the report)
- Chronic hepatitis B infections to be eligible for compensation
- Cut-off date for hepatitis C infections should be removed
- People who have naturally cleared hepatitis C who have ‘suffered loss’ to be included in eligibility for compensation. It is not clear yet what ‘suffered loss’ means
- Report does not set out any suggested amounts for financial awards, apart from interim compensation
- Report sets out categories for financial awards, to be administered by an independent, arms length body, accountable to parliament
- Rates of compensation to be based on advice from independent clinical and legal panels and set by the scheme
- Regular ex-gratia support payments should be guaranteed for life, backed by legislation
- A specialist psychological support service should be set up in England, to level up with services in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
‘Government must respond quickly’
Kate Burt, Chief Executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: ‘This report highlights the significant damage caused not only from HIV and hepatitis infections, but also from the inadequate response of government over many years. Wrong has been done, and Sir Brian makes clear that now is the time to put it right. There must be no further delay in establishing a fair compensation scheme. We will now be pushing the government to respond quickly to this report and to consult with those infected and affected in setting up a fair and workable scheme.’
What happens now?
Until the government tells us how it plans to respond to Sir Brian’s report, we do not know if the second interim compensation payment will be paid or how you register to receive it. We will continue to ask questions on your behalf and will update the website as soon as we get any additional information.
The Infected Blood Inquiry will be holding a series of local meetings within the next few weeks where it will be possible to ask more questions. Details of the meetings are here.
You can read the full report here.
If you have any questions or need any help, please contact our Public Inquiry Team at [email protected].