Victims of infected blood could receive £2m compensation

  • By Nick Triggle
  • health correspondent

Image source, fake images

Victims of infected blood could receive payments of more than £2 million each under a compensation scheme announced by the government.

That said, authorities covered up the scandal and exposed victims to unacceptable risks.

The government said the first payments will be made at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, it said it would make additional interim payments of £210,000 over the summer.

These are 4,000 victims who have already received payments of £100,000.

But the government said compensation would eventually be available to a much broader group of people, including family members and loved ones of those who have been infected. This could include children or parents, the first time they will have received any financial payment.

The total cost could be around £10bn.

Research into infected blood has been called the worst therapeutic disaster in the history of the NHS.

More than 30,000 people were infected with HIV and hepatitis C between 1970 and 1991 through contaminated blood products and transfusions.

About 3,000 of them have died since then; Many hemophiliacs received infected blood products as part of their treatment.

‘Five criteria’

Compensation due will be judged based on five criteria:

  • injuries and damage caused
  • Social impact of stigma and isolation.
  • impact on autonomy and private life, such as not being able to have children
  • care costs
  • financial losses

The government said payments would depend on individual circumstances, but typical payments for those infected with HIV, or for HIV plus hepatitis, would exceed £2 million.

Those with a hepatitis infection causing liver damage would receive around £1 million.

Those facing extreme care costs or who had very high incomes before infection could receive even more.

Infected blood consultation: Read more

The published figures also give examples of compensation for the relatives of those infected.

The partner of an HIV-infected person who is still alive today, for example, should expect to receive around £110,000, while a child could receive £55,000.

If your loved one has passed away and you were financially dependent on them, annual payments are available.

The scheme will be administered by a new body called the Infected Blood Compensation Authority, which will initially be led by Sir Robert Francis, who chaired the inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal.

It is proposed that compensation be considered a lump sum or a series of payments. Plans will be consulted over the coming weeks.

From next April, the compensation scheme will effectively replace the existing financial support scheme, versions of which have been in place since 1989. In recent years, they have been worth more than £40,000 a year for some, such as those who have been infected or , if they have died in the exercise of benefit, their partners.

Image source, fake images

Announcing the details in the House of Commons, Paymaster General John Glen repeated the apology made on Monday by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, saying the victims had suffered “unimaginable pain”.

He said the publication of the public inquiry report was a “very humbling day for everyone”.

He hopes the compensation package will be well received: “The infected blood community knows that their cries for justice have been heard.”

Des Collins, of Collins Solicitors, which represents more than 500 families, said the news was a “positive and generally encouraging step”.

But he criticized the government for not acting sooner, pointing out that the public inquiry told them to act on compensation two years ago.

“The government has wasted valuable time. It is also disconcerting that the promised new consultations have not happened sooner, but better late than never.”

Jason Evans, of the campaign group Factor 8, said he would need to carefully consider the compensation sums before commenting.

But he said he was concerned about the wait some face, given that interim payments are only available to certain people.

“Today’s announcement will be a blow to the majority of bereaved families, who have yet to receive any compensation.”