Compensation for contaminated blood scandal victims ‘must be extended’

The inquiry chairman said compensation to support victims and their families should be extended to more people.

Chair of Infected Blood Inquiry rules victim compensation ‘must be extended’ STV News

More victims who lost loved ones in the “biggest treatment disaster in the NHS” should be entitled to compensation, an inquiry has concluded.

It is estimated that thousands of people were infected with HIV and hepatitis by contaminated blood between 1970 and 1991.

The Infected Blood Inquiry has published the second interim report into the scandal which recommends a compensation scheme should be set up and begin work this year.

In July last year, the inquiry made the recommendation that victims should receive interim compensation of £100,000.

As a result, in October 2022, the government said thousands of victims of the infected blood scandal would receive interim compensation payments of £100,000 – and it has already made interim payments of around £400m to people infected and to bereaved partners.

However, inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff, a former High Court judge, has concluded that many family members remain “unrecognised” when it comes to compensation.

Those affected include parents who lost children and children who were orphaned when their parents died.

It has now been recommended that the government make further payments to those affected by the scandal.

Sir Brian announced that he was taking the “unusual” step of publishing the recommendation ahead of the publication of the full report in a bid to prevent the victims from facing further delays.

In a statement he said: “I could not in conscience add to the decades-long delays many of you have already experienced due to failures to recognise the depth of your losses.”

He said that “wrongs were done at individual, collective and systemic levels”.

Sir Brian said that “not only do the infections themselves and their consequences merit compensation, but so too do the wrongs done by authority, whose response served to compound people’s suffering”.

He said: “This has been described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, and we have much to learn as a nation to help ensure that people never suffer in a similar way again. I will be setting that out in my full report.”

On further compensation payments, he added: “I am also recommending further interim compensation payments to recognise the deaths of people who have so far gone unrecognised, as I believe this is necessary to alleviate immediate suffering.

“It is a fact that around 380 children with bleeding disorders were infected with HIV. Some of them died in childhood.

“But their parents have never received compensation.

“Children who were orphaned as a result of infections transmitted by blood transfusions and blood products have never had their losses recognised.”

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