MPs round on Government over delay in support for contaminated blood victims

Norwich North M.P Chloe Smith. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich North M.P Chloe Smith. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

MPs from across the country rounded on the Government over its 'shabby' announcement that help for the victims of the contaminated blood scandal will be delayed.

Veteran MP Sir Gerald Kaufman told ministers victims of the scandal did not have 'an infinite time in which to wait' as health ministers said a consultation would only be launched in the autumn to look at how a £25m pot of cash to help victims will be spent.

Prime minister David Cameron apologised in March for the saga which saw thousands of people accidentally infected with HIV and hepatitis C through blood and blood products used by the NHS before 1991.

The details of how the money would be spent were meant to be announced before MPs go on their summer holidays tomorrow, but health minister and former North Norfolk MP Lord Prior published a statement on Friday afternoon in the House of Lords announcing a consultation would be launched.

Our special report earlier this year highlighted the many ways victims and their families continue to be let down by the government many decades on from the tragedy.

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Issues include a lack of fair compensation, a complex and unwieldy compensation process, a failure of accountability for the scandal and the lack of a public inquiry. A new life-saving drug has also been inexplicably delayed.

Norwich MP Chloe Smith used the urgent debate to give a voice to a constituent who she said had said over the weekend: 'It looks like another case of the Government saying they are going to do something, and then doing nothing.'

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Health minister Ben Gummer said there was an enormous amount of work going on in the department at the moment and it was a 'priority'.

'We know we need to move quickly and I want to assure {Chloe Smith's] constituent that we want to have this matter settled by the end of the year.'

The Suffolk MP said it was a 'priority' for the Department for Health.

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