Statement on government’s appointment of Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery as compensation adviser

Written by Jessica Bomford, February 8, 2024

Today the government has announced the appointment of Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery to lead an expert group to provide ‘technical advice’ on compensation for people infected and affected through contaminated blood and blood products.

This announcement, which was made without any consultation with the infected blood community, raises more questions than it answers.

We do not know which experts are on Professor Montgomery’s team nor has their appointment process been publicised. We do not know the panel’s remit or whether their advice will ever find its way into the public domain. It is not clear whether they will help move forward the long-overdue compensation process or be another obstacle to achieving it.

We recognise the concerns of many in our community about Professor Montgomery’s links with the pharmaceutical company Bayer. No expert with direct links to one of the companies responsible for producing contaminated blood products would ever have the confidence of the contaminated blood community.

There are already two detailed reports about compensation to guide the government. One, by Sir Robert Francis, was commissioned by the government itself and the other, by Sir Brian Langstaff, is the result of years of investigation by the Infected Blood Inquiry. We are not clear what further wisdom the government’s expert panel will bring to this process.

The work on the detail of the compensation scheme should be done by an independent arm’s length body for compensation not by the Cabinet Office, as recommended by both reports.

You can read the government’s announcement of Professor Montgomery’s appointment here.