This will be the last World AIDS Day before the Infected Blood Inquiry reports its findings in the summer of 2023. But for those infected and affected it is another year with no guarantee of full compensation and justice for the damage done to their lives by the state.
As long as there has been HIV, there has been a group of haemophiliacs who were infected with it because of contaminated blood products. The UK Governments in the 1970s and 1980s were aware that there was a risk of these products carrying infections and they didn’t do what was necessary to reduce risks and save lives. During this time 1,243 people with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders were directly infected and approximately 70 intimate partners were also infected.
Today there are around 250 people directly infected who are still alive and approximately 30 intimate partners.
While some victims of the blood scandal have now received an interim compensation payment, children, parents, carers and other dependants have been excluded from these. They had been viewed as victims of this scandal who were entitled to ex-gratia support in the past.
This is unacceptable and we need to see urgent action from Government to:
1. Commit to Recommendation One from the Sir Robert Francis KC study [PDF]:
The Government accepts that, irrespective of the findings of the Inquiry, there is a strong moral case for a publicly funded scheme to compensate both infected and affected victims of infected blood and blood products infected with HCV or HIV, and that the infections eligible for compensation be reviewed on a regular basis in the light of developing knowledge.
2. Publish a timetable for developing a compensation framework, including for those affected.
3. Commit to working in partnership with the infected blood community to develop the compensation framework.
4. Start the process of verification and registration of the affected groups of people immediately.
The Government commissioned Sir Robert Francis KC in the spring of 2021 to carry out an independent study into a compensation framework. They have not yet responded to the study, although they did publish it after pressure in June.
As of Sunday 27 November, the Government is committed to publishing details on the compensation framework before the inquiry concludes. But it should be noted that with each new announcement that the Government make on this topic the plan for how and when they will develop the compensation framework appears to change.
This compounds the mental anguish that victims have to endure. For this reason it is vital that the Government publish a timetable for developing the compensation framework and stick to it.