Today the Government has announced its intention to appoint an independent reviewer looking at a framework for compensation for those infected and affected as part of the contaminated blood scandal. This is separate to the ongoing public inquiry into the scandal where people with haemophilia were infected with HIV and/or hepatitis in the 1970s and 80s.
Compensation has never been paid to those infected or affected by contaminated blood products. Support payments have been made to victims living with life-altering conditions but there is little consistency in sums provided across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In 2018, a public inquiry began into the contaminated blood scandal. The ongoing inquiry is believed to include the largest number of participants of any UK public inquiry to date.
Richard Angell, Head of Policy at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘The decision to appoint an independent reviewer to look at compensation and financial support for those infected and affected – outside of the ongoing public inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal – is the right one. But this is the last chance for justice for those whose lives have been ravaged by HIV/AIDS and we need to see fast action from Government rather than another lengthy process.
‘All of those impacted by the scandal – whether directly or indirectly – have had the course of their lives changed forever and the majority are no longer with us. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that the review and subsequent compensation leaves no-one behind. After over 40 years of waiting, we need to finally see justice served for everyone and hopefully today’s announcement will help to get us there alongside the ongoing inquiry.’
Response from those directly affected on why this matters
Paul, 53, haemophiliac co-infected with HIV and hepatitis:
‘The payment of proper compensation would take the pressure off, it would give me and my son financial security my illness means I have not been able to provide and would mean I would able to provide for his future and should the worst happen he would be taken care of.’
Elizabeth, 41, bereaved child
‘I suppose if compensation were paid to families it would bring some security, maybe peace of mind, but it won’t bring my father back nor undo the hurt caused by decisions taken by the Government over many years. There will still be no one there to walk me down the aisle.’
Terrence Higgins Trust is supporting those living with and affected by HIV as a result of the Contaminated Blood Scandal. During the 1970s and 1980s, blood products infected with HIV and hepatitis C were given to people living with haemophilia and other blood disorders. Thousands of lives were lost as a result and people continue to be impacted today.