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‘Breakthrough’ compensation framework announced for contaminated blood victims

‘Breakthrough’ compensation framework announced for contaminated blood victims

Penny Mordaunt MP, minister responsible for the Infected Blood Inquiry, has announced the government will consider a compensation framework for victims of the contaminated blood scandal.

She also unveiled important uplifts to give “broad parity” of financial support to everyone in the UK infected with HIV and or hepatitis C as a result of NHS treatment with contaminated blood and blood products.

Ms Mordaunt said she would appoint an independent reviewer – whose identity has not yet been revealed – to look at potential compensation framework design which would be ready to implement when the Infected Blood Inquiry publishes its report in 2022. We understand this person would look at infected blood compensation schemes in other counties, such as Ireland, as well as consulting with those infected and affected in the UK.

Clive Smith, chair of The Haemophilia Society, said: “Today marks a breakthrough in the campaign for truth and justice for victims of the contaminated blood scandal.

“Victims of the contaminated blood scandal have been waiting almost 40 years for any government to acknowledge liability and offer compensation for the devastation and loss that this NHS treatment disaster caused. This is the closest any government has come to that admission.

“Although there is a long way to go, we hope that the government will finally do the right thing and give victims of the contaminated blood scandal and their families the compensation for which they have fought so long. Nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, but compensation will ensure that those who have survived, and their families, can live with a degree of dignity and recognition of their loss.”

Infected Blood Support Schemes

The government also announced measures to achieve “broad parity” in infected blood support payments across the UK. These will be backdated to April 2019 and apply to current registrants of the schemes. Payments will be made by the end of 2021.  

The main changes are:

  • Bereaved partners will receive an automatic £10,000 lump sum plus 100% of their partner’s  annual payment in year one followed by 75% from then onwards
  • The lump sum payment paid to hep C stage one beneficiaries will increase to £50,000, in line with Scotland
  • The lump sum paid to a beneficiary with HIV will increase to an automatic £80,500
  • Annual payments will be uplifted in line with those paid in England

Mr Smith said: “The UK’s financial support system for victims of contaminated blood and their bereaved partners was deeply flawed, divisive and unfair. We welcome today’s announcement which means all UK victims who were infected as a result of NHS treatment will receive the same support regardless of where they were infected.

“This announcement also recognises the suffering and sacrifice of widows and bereaved partners who for too long have been the forgotten towers of strength in this tragedy.”

“Today’s uplift means that UK victims should finally receive the support they have fought for decades to achieve, alleviating the grinding hardship highlighted so shockingly in the on-going Infected Blood Inquiry.”

We are disappointed that there has been no change to eligibility to the IBSS schemes, which means that bereaved parents and children remain excluded. We will also continue to lobby the government to provide more funding for specialist psychological support for victims of the contaminated blood scandal and their families.

No details have been released about how to give your views about compensation. The Haemophilia Society will be in contact with Ms Mordaunt’s office and will be working to ensure that our members’ voices are heard on this vital issue.

You can read Ms Mordaunt’s statement here.

Jessica Bomford

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