Victims of contaminated blood scandal will get compensation decades late
- Credit: PA
Victims of the contaminated blood scandal will get compensation, the health secretary has said, decades after they were infected.
Matt Hancock told the Infected Blood Inquiry on Friday that “failures of state” in the NHS’ biggest scandal had never been properly acknowledged.
And he said compensation would be paid if that was the outcome of a review currently under way.
But some victims said it came way too late.
Almost 5,000 people were infected with hepatitis C or HIV in the 1970s and 1980s when they were given contaminated blood products called Factor VIII or IX by the NHS. Some of the blood was sourced from risky donors such as prisoners and drug addicts.
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About 2,400 people have died in what has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, including at least two in Norfolk who campaigned for justice - Bob Brennan and Annie Walker.
Families have long fought for annual support payments to be increased and for compensation which has never been paid.
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Michelle Tolley, from Sparham, near Dereham, was given a blood transfusion for a haemorrhage after giving birth to her first child in 1987.
She had another during an emergency caesarean section when having twins in 1991. It was only in 2015 she was diagnosed with hepatitis C and has suffered from a host of illnesses brought about by the contaminated blood she was given.
The mother-of-four said: “My message to him is: put your money where your mouth is. We are dying and it has gone on far too long.”
The government said in March bereaved partners would automatically get a £10,000 lump sum.
But giving evidence, to the inquiry Matt Hancock said: "Many people felt and still feel that the government needs to make sure that exactly what happened and the consequences of it are fully uncovered.
"Redress wasn’t properly considered and people felt their voices weren’t heard and I want to make sure those voices are heard.”
He said work was under way on a "fair support scheme" which would last for the lifetime of victims. However, no details of any compensation are expected until after the inquiry.
Jason Evans, founder of campaign group Factor 8, said: "We welcome these commitments from the secretary of state.”