Letter raises concerns over minister’s ‘tour’

Written by Jessica Bomford, March 28, 2024

The chairs of three haemophilia societies have told the minister with responsibility for the Infected Blood Inquiry not to start a fact-finding tour before confirming the government will pay compensation.

Clive Smith, Chair of the Haemophilia Society, Bill Wright, Chair of Haemophilia Scotland and Nigel Hamilton, Chair of Haemophilia NI, wrote to John Glen MP, the Paymaster General, asking him to answer key questions about the government’s position on compensation for people infected and affected by contaminated blood products. They said that without these answers upfront, any proposed tour risked being meaningless and would be seen as another time-wasting ploy. You can read their letter here.

Mr Glen’s ‘tour’ was announced by Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House, to MPs in March. She said he planned to have 25 meetings around the UK to hear the views of people infected and affected by the contaminated blood scandal on compensation and to ‘get feedback’ on ‘the scheme’. There have been no further details about these meetings.

The letter also asks for information about the government’s expert advisory group on compensation, chaired by Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery.

Before Mr Glen starts a fact-finding tour, the letter calls on the government to commit to paying compensation and to answer the following questions:

  • What is the government’s outline plan for delivering compensation?
  • When is a compensation system likely to be in place?
  • What are the Terms of Reference of the government’s expert group on compensation?
  • Will the minutes of its meetings be made available?
  • What information is the expert group considering?
  • What is the timeframe for this group to meet and report?

The letter points out that if Mr Glen wants to understand the concerns of the community, the Infected Blood Inquiry has already received 4,000 written statements, many of which have been published, and heard from 370 witnesses in person. Based on this, the inquiry’s Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, recommended in April 2023 that compensation should be paid as a matter of urgency. It is not clear what new information Mr Glen expects to get from his tour.

So far the government has said it will not respond to the recommendations on compensation until the inquiry publishes its final report in May 2024.