‘It feels like the government is waiting for us to die’ More heartache for blood scandal victims

Annie Walker, who was given contaminated blood in a transfusion in the 1970s. Picture by SIMON FINLA

Annie Walker, who was given contaminated blood in a transfusion in the 1970s. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A Norwich victim of the contaminated blood scandal says it feels like the government is 'waiting for her to die' after fresh delays in compensation were revealed at the same time as her health problems resurfaced.

MP Chloe Smith

MP Chloe Smith - Credit: Archant

A Norwich victim of the contaminated blood scandal says it feels like the government is 'waiting for her to die' after fresh delays in compensation were revealed at the same time as her health problems resurfaced.

Annie Walker, of Mousehold House, Norwich, was one of thousands of people nationwide given infected blood and blood products by the NHS in the 1970s and 80s.

Decades on, those victims that are still alive are still waiting for what they see as adequate compensation, and for Prime Minister David Cameron to make good his promise to deliver £25m in funding for victims while the situation is looked at.

Yesterday, Norwich MP Chloe Smith told the House of Commons how Ms Walker and many others have 'no more time to lose' because of their on-going health problems.


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It came after health minister Jane Ellison announced the consultation on proposals to reform support for victims of the scandal has been delayed again until the New Year.

For Ms Walker, 62, the news comes as she is facing another agonising wait over her health. She contracted hepatitis C (hep C) from blood transfusions at the age of 19. In 2014 the cirrhosis of her liver caused by the hep C led to cancer.

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She had hoped a liver transplant had solved the problem, but has recently been rocked by the news the cancer may have returned in her lungs and near her kidneys.

She is awaiting the results of biopsies but has been warned it is either cancer, which she fears could be fatal, or lymphoma - the treatment for which could cause serious problems with her transplanted liver.

On the latest delays, she said: 'Chloe has been very supportive but I did write to her to say that it feels like Cameron is waiting for us to die so they don't have to pay the money out.

'I know that is strong, but so many people I know have died in the last few months and every time that happens it means less money to pay out.

'This happened in the 1970s and 80s and the people affected are getting to the age where it can cause real problems.

'It seems like the government can act quickly when they want to, but for some reason this is different.'

Speaking in the debate, the health minister did at least say the £25m figure could be extended. She added: 'The delay I know will be disappointing for many who are anticipating this consultation before the end of the year and I do want to apologise.

'We are currently assessing what can be allocated above and beyond the additional £25 million already committed and this is of course in addition to the existing baseline spend on the payment schemes which will remain.'

Do you have a story for the Investigations Unit? Email david.powles@archant.co.uk

The contaminated blood scandal

Earlier this year we told how hundreds of people, many of them from Norfolk, were still being let down several decades on from when the scandal first happened.

An estimated 7,500 are known to have been affected after being given infected blood or blood products by the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s.

Much of that was imported from the United States without the necessary safety checks, some was even known to have come from drug addicts and prostitutes.

Years on, more than 2,000 people are thought to have been killed, while those still alive often suffer from crippling conditions such as HIV and hepatitis C.

In May we revealed how the victims still felt massively let down by the government. Some of our findings included:

- a reluctance to investigate properly how the scandal was allowed to happen and hold those responsible to account;

- a lack of suitable financial support, leaving many victims and their families struggling to cope;

- failure to provide an acceptable one-off payment;

- not providing the best drugs possible for sufferers, despite promises to the contrary;

- a complex and demeaning support system.

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