On 11 July, we joined a cross-organisational delegation to 10 Downing Street to call on the Prime Minister to expedite an interim compensation payment for those infected and affected with HIV and HCV in the Contaminated Blood Scandal.
Alongside the Scottish Infected Blood Forum, The Haemophilia Society, Haemophilia Society NI, The Hepatitis C Trust, and a representative from the community in Wales, our letter [PDF] demands the speedy implementation of Sir Robert Francis QC’s recommendation 14 in his Recommendations for a Framework:
Recommendation 14 states '...that the Government should immediately consider offering a standard figure by way of substantial interim payments, on account of awards likely to be made under the scheme, to infected persons currently in receipt of support under any support scheme. The figure offered should represent broadly the minimum amount an infected person could be expected to receive by way of a final award.'
Compensation is urgent. Since the Infected Blood Inquiry was announced in July 2017, until February this year, 419 people have died. This is on top of the devastating death toll before HIV and HCV treatment become available and those who died in the intervening years before the Inquiry was established. We know at least 31 women infected with HIV by their spouses died before the Inquiry started.
These numbers highlight the frighteningly high level of mortality among those that have been infected and clearly identifies the desperate situation we find ourselves in. It's reasonable to predict that many more will not get to see the end of the investigation by the time the Inquiry Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, submits his final report and recommendations.
This is our latest action, alongside our partners, to get justice. It builds on our Principles of Fair Compensation issued in December 2021, and ongoing pressure to get interim payments made. Just last week, our Chief Executive Ian Green wrote to all opposition party leaders in Westminster to urge cross-party support for interim compensation payments.
Francis’ Compensation Framework Study was commissioned by Penny Mordaunt as Postmaster General and delivered to her successor on 14 March 2022. The Cabinet Office published it on 7 June 2022. In it, Sir Robert even went so far as to mention the figure of £100,000 in his report. We await the Paymaster General’s response.
Justice delayed is justice repeated for those infected and affected by HIV and HCV from contaminated blood and blood products. Interim payments are just the first step in a just compensation package and a small part of the justice deserved by the Macfarlane Community and all those impacted by this scandal.
Those from the four UK nations delivering the letter to 10 Downing Street were: Margaret Hamilton (Scottish Infected Blood Forum), Clive Smith (The Haemophilia Society), Nigel Hamilton (Haemophilia Society NI), Richard Angell (Terrence Higgins Trust), Stephen Roles (infected Welsh citizen) and Samantha May (Hepatitis C Trust). They were accompanied by Dame Diana Johnson MP (Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood) and Douglas Chapman MP.