‘I don’t think that I will ever receive compensation now’ - Norwich blood contamination victim has just weeks to live
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
A victim of the contaminated blood scandal who has been told she has just one or two months to live has today spoken of her anger that she will never receive compensation.
Annie Walker, who has hepatitis C, described a long-awaited announcement on a new blueprint for support for victims as 'another delaying tactic' after health minister Jane Ellison said there would be a three-month consultation on the new proposals.
These include providing an
extra £100m of support for those affected by failings in the 1970s and 1980s.
Campaigners also remain angry that the government has only ever made ex-gratia payments – a voluntary gesture –- and there has never been formal compensation.
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Ms Ellison apologised on behalf of the government and said she recognised that for some people the announcement 'will come too late'.
But 61-year-old Ms Walker, from the Mousehold area, spoke of her anger at the 'miserly' proposed settlement. She has been told she may not make her 62nd birthday next month because of advanced cancer as a result of the disease.
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'Since they started this people have died, I am going to be the next one. I have one or two months left to live. That is it.'
She has been given pain control, but there is nothing else that can be done.
'My last bit of extended life was my transplant I had a year before they realised the cancer had never gone. I was able to enjoy the summer because of the liver transplant. But it has been hard, very hard.'
She said there was no need for a consultation and victims wanted better health care, the latest drugs and proper compensation, which would allow them to leave something for their families when they died.
'I always thought I would die before better compensation came along. I don't think it will ever come along now,' she said.
Ms Walker contracted hepatitis C from blood transfusions at the age of 19. In 2014 the cirrhosis of her liver caused by the hep C led to cancer.
She said it had been hard to earn a living during her adult life because of the disease. 'You have got no pension or anything you can give to anyone. The settlement should take into account that you have nothing to leave behind and you have no earning power.'
Ms Walker said that while she would not benefit from compensation she would like to have left some money for family.
The Norwich victim also said she was angry that other countries had paid compensation. The Italian government was recently told to pay £7.7m to more than 350 people who contracted deadly viruses from contaminated blood products. 'When they say the circumstances are different, it is rubbish. Our country doesn't care. They have tried to worm their way out of admitting to this NHS disaster right from the start.'
Health minister Ms Ellison said: 'I recognise that for some this will come too late. I cannot right the pain and distress of 30 years, and the truth is that no amount of money could ever make up for the impact that this tragedy has had on people's lives.
'As I have said before, for legal reasons, in the majority of cases, it is not appropriate to talk about compensation payments, but I would like to echo what has been said before in the House and say sorry on behalf of the government to every person affected by this tragedy.'
Have you been affected by the contaminated blood scandal? Email firstname.lastname@example.org