'An insult' - Norfolk victims of the contaminated blood scandal react to new compensation payments
PUBLISHED: 10:25 21 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:25 21 July 2016
Victims of the contaminated blood scandal have dismissed £125m of funding announced by David Cameron in one of his final acts as prime minister.
At least 2,000 people have died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C by blood products used by the NHS up until 1991, some sourced from risky donors such as prisoners and drug addicts.
Mr Cameron said last Wednesday that £125m would be spent to help thousands of victims.
In Scotland victims receive the annual average income of £27,000 a year – but in England the same victims will get as little as £3,500 annually.
Steve Sillett, of St Paul’s Close, Brockdish, on the Suffolk and Norfolk border has stage two hepatitis C and needs another liver transplant – but he will not be getting any more money.
He described Mr Cameron’s announcement as “pretty meaningless”.
The 57 year old called on the government to pay a final compensation to all of the victims and their families.
Alan Kirkham, 67, from Hellesdon, also has stage two hep C and says he will get an extra £500 a month. But he said there were many questions unanswered about the new money. “Whole tranches of people are not mentioned,” he said.
Michelle Tolley, from Sparham, will get £3,500 a year – the equivalent of £9 a day – for her suffering.
“No amount of money can bring back a life,” she said. “It’s a national tragedy and something which shouldn’t have been allowed to happen to people.”
The 51-year-old mother of four said the new payments were a step forward but said she would not rest until the government accepted liability.
The same amount is also being offered to Steve Bartram from Norwich who said the payment was an “insult” and he would be refusing the government cash of £3,500 a year.
Mr Cameron, in his announcement, said the new system of payments was “much fairer and more comprehensive”.
And a Department of Health spokesman said: “We have committed over £125m in additional funding to the reformed scheme.
“This will more than double the department’s annual spend over the next five years.”
The EDP has been fighting on behalf of the victims in this region.
What’s it like to live with Hep C?
Michelle Tolley from Sparham only discovered last autumn she had been infected with Hep C through contaminated blood.
She contracted the virus through a blood transfusion 28 years ago and will now get £3,500 a year.
Her health problems are getting worse and worse.
“I doubt I can work again and I’m only 51,” she said. “My career is now finished.”
But the greatest impact is on her daily life and that of her family.
The mother-of-four, who used to work for Tesco, said: “I have no energy and you never get to the point of recovery.
“I can sleep for 12 to 16 hours a day and then another time I can’t sleep for two nights. It completely messes up your system. You get really forgetful and I get really frustrated. You go into a shop for bread and then you turn around and you’ve forgotten. I then get angry with myself for not remembering. You also lose your balance. My husband is not working because I have difficulty with balance.”