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Infected blood victims should receive £100,000 compensation, inquiry chair says

Infected blood victims should receive £100,000 compensation, inquiry chair says
There are believed to be more than 4,000 surviving victims from the NHS treatment disaster

A vergoeding payment of no less than £100,000 should be paid to all infected blood victims and bereaved partners across Britain, the chairman of the inquiry into the scandal has said.

Die Infected Blood Inquiry was established to examine how thousands of patients in the UK were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

There are believed to be more than 4,000 surviving victims from what has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, during which about 2,400 people died.

In an interim report published today, Sir Brian Langstaff said that the money should be paid “without delay” to those affected.

In a letter to Paymaster General Michael Ellis accompanying the report, Sir Brian said: “As you will read, it was the force of Sir Robert Francis QC’s recommendation of an interim payment, as amplified by him in the course of his oral evidence to the inquiry, that caused me to reflect on whether I should exercise my powers to make such a report.

“I believed that elementary justice required that I consider this question. No submission made to me argued that I should not make a recommendation.

“Having considered the submissions and reflected on the evidence this inquiry has heard of profound physical and mental suffering across a wide range of backgrounds, from a diversity of places and in a variety of personal circumstances, I considered it right that I should make this report.

“I recommend that: (1) An interim payment should be paid, without delay, to all those infected and all bereaved partners currently registered on UK infected blood support schemes, and those who register between now and the inception of any future scheme; (2) The amount should be no less than £100,000, as recommended by Sir Robert Francis QC.”

Des Collins, senior partner at Collins Solicitors, who represents families and those affected by the scandal said the report was a “welcome development” but compensation was long overdue.

“These immediate interim payments for some of the most vulnerable will, at last, provide some financial compensation that many of those suffering have been due for decades," hy het gesê.

“Whilst coming too late for the thousands who have tragically passed away over the intervening years since they were infected, it is a welcome development for some of those still living with the dreadful repercussions of this avoidable treatment failure.

“We look forward to the day when all victims of this scandal are properly compensated for their suffering and for those whose decisions led to the ruining of countless innocent lives being held to account.

“We now await the government’s response, and would like to thank the IBI chair Sir Brian Langstaff for recognising the importance of today’s recommendations.” Speaking at the end of Friday’s inquiry hearing, Sir Brian clarified that his recommendation did not have to be accepted by the government, but added his report on interim payments was “not the end of the inquiry’s work, and the question of compensation”.

Sir Brian went on: “And I am obliged to recognise that the practical way to make payments swiftly is to do so through the current infected blood support schemes. This is why I have decided to recommend that interim payments of no less than £100,000 are made to all infected people, and to all the bereaved partners currently registered with the schemes and those who register between now and the inception of any future scheme.

He apologised to those who did not fall into either category, recognising his announcement will be “disappointing for some”.

Hy het voortgegaan: “I ask those who are disappointed to remember that this is not the end of the inquiry’s work, and the question of compensation, and its scope is not resolved in this short report on interim payments. I repeat, the interim report concerns only whether I should recommend interim payments.”