The second interim report on compensation [PDF] for those infected and affected by the Contaminated Blood Scandal has been published. It's written by the chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff KC.
We welcome the comprehensive recommendations which encapsulate the aspiration from the infected blood community for justice.
Sir Brian is right when he says in his interim report that ‘Time without redress is harmful. No time must be wasted in delivering that redress.’
This is urgent as already 419 victims have died between July 2017, when the inquiry was announced, and February 2022.
'Sir Brian has delivered a second and equally focused interim report,' says our Chief Executive Richard Angell. 'It is a comprehensive blueprint for action on compensation for the Infected Blood Community and makes much called for improvements to Sir Robert’s previously published study. If Government responds to this interim report in the timely and thorough way it responded to the first, the path to justice will be well trodden ahead of the final report the Inquiry expected this autumn.
'As the Paymaster General has previously acknowledged, time is of the essence. We stand ready to support the Government and those with lived experience of the biggest NHS scandal to see these recommendations implemented in a timely manner.
'Today we are a step closer to the justice the community deserve. Those who have campaigned for this outcome over four decades deserve our admiration and respect. For those still fighting, and those who so sadly have been lost on the journey, we must get keep going until these recommendations are reality.'
Following the publication of the report and reading its recommendations, we'd like to see the following:
- Action on the system for compensation starting now. This work must include meaningful engagement with the infected blood community in shaping the compensation system and it must be working by the end of the year. There is no need to wait for the final inquiry report to deliver this.
- The Government must respond in a positive and timely way – as they did to Sir Brian Langstaff’s first recommendation on interim compensation last year, which led to £100,000 interim compensation for those infected and to the widows of those who haven’t survived.
- The inclusion of interim payment to the estates of those who have sadly already passed away (without a spouse) is a welcome inclusion in this report, which is something that we are clear must happen. This must be implemented by the Government as a priority.
- We welcome the option of a provisional award for those infected who are concerned about the costs of deterioration in their health. The increased prevalence of certain non-HIV health conditions in the HIV positive population as they age does need to be accounted for and this option allows for that. We therefore call on the Government to include this in any compensation system.
- We support the conclusion that Sir Brian has drawn with regards to including the families of those without partners who contracted HIV as adults in the scope of compensation. Many of those with early HIV infections felt unable to have their own relationships or families because of their diagnosis, so parents and siblings often had to care for their very sick or dying adult relatives in the place of a spouse.
- We echo the call for the Government to guarantee ex-gratia payments for the lifetime of recipients, made now by both Sir Robert Francis KC and Sir Brian Langstaff KC.
Now Government must step up and deliver in the recommended time frame and through consultation with those in the infected blood community. Delays will mean that justice and compensation will come too late for more victims than is necessary.