Step closer to enhanced hepatitis C payments in Northern Ireland

Written by Jessica Bomford, December 6, 2021

Health minister Robin Swann has set out the next steps in levelling up hepatitis stage 1 payments in Northern Ireland for those infected as a result of contaminated blood and blood products.

Northern Ireland is the only home nation not to have an ‘enhanced’ category for stage 1 hepatitis, which is an increased payment if a recipient shows the condition has a ‘substantial and long-term’ impact on daily life. Currently, the stage 1 payment is £18,912 a year which could increase to £28, 680 when the new category is approved.

Mr Swann has already promised to introduce the payment, which will be backdated to April 2019, in line with other UK infected blood support schemes. Now he wants to hear from recipients of the Infected Blood Payment Scheme in Northern Ireland about their views on the best model of enhanced support for hepatitis C stage 1 payments.

In a letter outlining his consultation, Mr Swann said he and his team are now trying to decide how to assess eligibility for the enhanced payments. You can read Mr Swann’s letter about the consultation here.

Details of the consultation and the survey itself are here. The survey closes on 5 January 2022. You can also respond by email or letter, follow the link above for contact information.

The UK government announced measures in March 2021 to achieve ‘broad parity’ between the UK’s 4 infected blood support schemes. Read the ministerial statement here.