The Infected Blood Inquiry has brought back traumatic memories for many people, which can be hard to deal with. While some people can share these feelings with friends or family that they trust, others feel alone and unable to confide in anyone.
The psychological support services available to those infected and affected have improved as a result of the inquiry, with three of the UK’s four infected blood support schemes now offering dedicated services staffed by experienced psychologists and counsellors who understand the complex, multi-generational impact of the contaminated blood scandal.
Find the right support for you
A confidential support service provided by the inquiry which is run by the British Red Cross is available to anyone infected and affected by treatment with infected blood and blood products. This will be available until the inquiry publishes its final report, which is expected to be May 2024.
To access the support call 0800 458 9473 or 020 3417 0280. Phone lines are open:
- Mondays 11am – 1pm
- Wednesdays 7pm – 9pm
- Fridays 2pm – 4pm
There is also a messaging system to receive a call back during these hours. Counsellors are available at the inquiry’s public hearings for face-to-face sessions. For further information click here.
Infected blood support scheme services
In Northern Ireland there is a dedicated regional specialist psychological service delivered within the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust for individuals aged 18 years and above who have been infected and affected as a result of receiving contaminated blood. The service is also for family members. If you would like further information please contact the Clinical Health Psychology Department on 028 9615 5867.
If you live in Wales you can refer yourself for specialist psychological support by contacting the Psychology and Wellbeing Service at [email protected] or on 02920 902280. This support is also available to families of those infected.
In Scotland the Haemophilia Psychological Support Service offers additional services to members of SIBSS with inherited bleeding disorders and their families. If you’re interested in this service, please speak to your local haemophilia centre or contact them directly on 0131 2421270. The Scottish Infected Blood Psychological Service (SIBPS) has also been offering support since 2021 for anyone infected through contaminated blood or blood products and their families.
The England Infected Blood Support Scheme offers a one-off payment of up to £900 a year to recipients and their families towards counselling costs. You will need to find a therapist and your costs will then be reimbursed. Financial support will now extend beyond £900, if you and your counsellor agree that more support is necessary. Find out how to apply here.
The Terrence Higgins Trust offers up to 24 sessions of counselling support to all former recipients of the Macfarlane Trust and their families.
The charity Haemophilia and Bleeding Disorders Counselling Association (HBDCA) was set up in 2018 in recognition of the need for tailored, psychological support for people with bleeding disorders across the UK. As well as providing psychological support at two haemophilia centres in England, it offers online support specifically for the infected blood community, using a range of therapies and counselling which are free.
Other charities may also be able to help, such as CRUSE Bereavement 0870 167 167: www.cruse.org.uk, the Salvation Army 0845 634 0101: www.salvationarmy.org.uk or the Samaritans 116 123: www.samaritans.org.uk.
The NHS offers psychological support through its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, which you can register for directly. You can also be referred for psychological support through your GP.
If you are struggling to get the support you need, please don’t suffer alone. Call Debra or Jessica from our Public Inquiry Team on 020 7939 0780 and we’ll do all we can to help.