Minister urged to speed up compensation work
Written by Jeff Courtney, January 19, 2024
The chairs of the Haemophilia Society (THS) and Haemophilia Scotland have urged the minister with responsibility for the Infected Blood Inquiry to accelerate work on establishing a compensation scheme.
Clive Smith, Chair of THS and Bill Wright, Chair of Haemophilia Scotland wrote to John Glen MP, the Paymaster General, this week following the announcement that the publication of the inquiry’s final report had been delayed to May 2024.
Their letter, which you can read in full here, also tells Mr Glen of the sad death of Simon Hamilton, Chair of Haemophilia NI, who died on Christmas Day. Simon has joined Clive and Bill many times in campaigning and lobbying ministers on the issue of contaminated blood products and his influence and energy will be sorely missed.
Clive and Bill urged Mr Glen to speed up work on a compensation scheme, to do so transparently and to consult with those infected and affected, and their representatives.
They wrote to Mr Glen: ‘Constructive involvement now with those at the heart of this scandal will help to shape a robust and practical scheme.’
The government has refused to comment on the inquiry’s report on compensation which was published in April 2023 and recommended that a full compensation scheme should be set up straight away so that it was up and running by the end of that year. The government says it will not respond to the recommendations for compensation until the inquiry’s final report is published. This was originally due to be in Autumn 2023, then March 2024 and will now be published on 20 May.
With the final report delayed again, Bill and Clive pointed out that it was now more important than ever that the government move forward swiftly to create a workable compensation scheme.
In a separate development, changes to the Victims and Prisoners Bill in December mean that the government could be forced to set up a compensation scheme for people infected and affected by contaminated blood within three months of it becoming law. The bill will next be discussed at Committee Stage in the House of Lords from 24 to 7 February and could become law by the end of next month, although we do not have a definite date for this yet.
If you have any questions or comments, email us at [email protected].