We have, along with the All Party Parliamentary Group, submitted a letter to the Paymaster General Michael Ellis calling for the urgent publication of the Compensation Framework Study. We're also calling on the Government to listen to voices of victims before responding to the study.
It's estimated that 1,243 people across the UK with haemophilia and bleeding disorders were infected with HIV as a result of contaminated blood products given to them by the NHS in the 1980s – fewer than 250 are still alive. Compensation has never been paid to those infected or affected by contaminated blood products. For the last four decades, members of this community have fought for the truth to come out, for justice and for fair compensation.
A year ago the then Paymaster General, Penny Mordaunt announced the Government was commissioning a study to bring forward options for a framework for compensation. Sir Robert Francis QC was appointed as an independent reviewer to carry out the study. We, along with members of the infected blood community and other organisations working in this space, contributed to the compensation framework study [pdf]. The study was completed and submitted to the now Paymaster General, Michael Ellis MP, on 14 March 2022.
When announcing that he had received the compensation framework study, the Paymaster General also announced the Government’s intention to publish its response to the study at the same time as making the study publically available.
Our Chief Executive Ian Green said: 'Members of the infected blood community have been let down by successive governments. They have shown both courage and good faith when engaging with the study. This Government should respect and allow the community time to reflect and respond to the study’s suggestions before they reach any conclusions.
'The question of compensation needs to be resolved urgently. Today many members of the infected blood community are not in good health as a result of the contaminated blood products they received from the state, and too many people have already died before being given any sense of closure.'
Paul, a co-infected haemophiliac, said: 'I’m sick and tired of having to fight for everything. If the Government listen to us, the people who have been living with the effects of infected blood for most of our lives before responding to the study, then I’d hope that we could cut quickly to a situation where this can be resolved fairly and effectively. I might be tired but I will keep fighting if I have to'.
Letter to Paymaster General, Tuesday 29 March 2022
Thank you for your letter of the 23rd of March to the co-chairs of the APPG. We also have noted your letter in reply to Sir Brian Langstaff on the 21st March.
However, we feel compelled to write to you again on behalf of the cross-party APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood alongside the undersigned individuals and organisations.
We believe it is essential for you to listen to the voices of people affected by contaminated blood and blood products before you reach any conclusions around the proposals in Sir Robert Francis’ Report.
Giving them time to see and respond to Sir Robert Francis’ report prior to a government response gives due respect to the people affected who generously gave their time to support his process. The current planned approach of publishing the report on the same day as the government response would be a disservice to them and risks poor and costly decision-making by government.
This community should know how Sir Robert calibrated their views and what he has proposed. They then deserve the opportunity to have their views on his proposals heard by you before you draw any conclusion on the compensation that they have waited decades to receive.
While we are pleased to hear that work is already underway to consider Sir Robert’s work, we would strongly urge you to implement a two-stage approach to the publication of the Sir Robert Francis’ Report and your response. We believe this will improve the quality of the government’s response, as well as helping you to maintain a level of confidence around your handling of the compensation process.
We also would welcome the opportunity you suggest to discuss the emerging themes in the government’s work and would be pleased to meet with you and ideally for you to join us at an APPG meeting as soon as convenient.
I am sure we do not need to tell you how important it is for us all to work together to quickly resolve the question of compensation. Many of those treated with contaminated blood and blood products are now old and not in good health. They deserve to see compensation, that they feel fairly reflects their suffering, delivered in their lifetime. Too many members of this community have already died without that.
We therefore call on you to immediately publish Sir Robert Francis’s Report and with that publication to create an opportunity for consideration of the report by people infected and affected.
It would also allow more effective scrutiny by the infected blood inquiry before the Government publish their response.
Rt Hon Dame Diana Johnson MP, MP for Hull North and Co-Chair of the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
Sir Peter Bottomley MP, MP for Worthing West and Co-Chair of the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
Lord Black of Brentwood, Vice Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS
Ian Lavery MP, Member, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
Baroness Masham of Ilton, Member, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
Jessica Morden MP, Vice Chair, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
David Mundell MP, Co-Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS
Andy Slaughter MP, Member, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
Chris Stephens MP, Vice Chair, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
Alison Thewlis MP, Member, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
Dr Philippa Whitford, Vice Chair, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated
Organisations and individuals
Kate Burt, Chief Executive, The Haemophilia Society
Jackie Britton, BloodLoss Families
Andrew Evans, Chair, TaintedBlood
TaintedBlood Bereaved Spouses and Partners
TaintedBlood Bereaved Parents Support Group
Jason Evans, Founder, Factor 8
Ian Green, Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust
Rachel Halford, Chief Executive Officer, The Hepatitis C Trust
Tommy Leggate, Scottish Infected Blood Forum
Clive Smith, Chair, The Haemophilia Society
Glenn Wilkinson, Contaminated Blood Campaign
Bill Wright, Chair, Haemophilia Scotland