Sister calls on government to keep its promises to NHS blood victims in spending review
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Agony for victims of health scandal as government looks set to make them wait yet again for proper compensation
Families whose lives have been torn apart by a health scandal have called on the government to deliver on its pre-election promise to make amends for decades of suffering.
Angela Farrugia lost three brothers, including former merchant navy man Victor Farrugia, of Brooks Avenue, East Ham, after they were infected with diseases from contaminated blood given by the NHS from the early 1980s until 1991. Victor died from Aids in 2002, aged 63, after suffering years of stigma.
He was one of 7,500 in the UK with the blood disorder haemophilia who contracted HIV or hepatitis C (hep C) following a deadly medical oversight in which blood products from high risk donors, such as drug addicts and prisoners, were given to NHS patients.
In March this year the prime minister apologised on behalf of the British government and promised to release £25million financial support for victims immediately, and to increase that after the general election in May.
But the £25million has not been forthcoming and in July the government delayed further decisions until after the autumn spending review on November 25.
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Blood scandal campaigners say the timetable has “slipped drastically” and a final settlement proposal is now unlikely to be on the table before next April.
Ms Farrugia, who has fought for justice for her brothers’ children, said: “I feel frustrated that David Cameron seems to be dragging his feet over a settlement.
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“I have heard that victims’ children will not be included, only widows. I feel this is so unfair for my nieces and nephews who have had their fathers taken from them prematurely because of a major mistake by the medical profession.
“They cannot replace their dads. If they are excluded from compensation, that is not acceptable.”
The Recorder highlighted the many ways victims and their families have been let down by successive governments over three decades in a special report in June.
Campaign groups say they are frustrated that settlement negotiations are still at early stages.
They also fear some key groups, such as children of those who have died and some infected with hep C, may be left out if any future settlement follows draft proposals already laid out in Scotland.
Joseph Peaty, co-chair of campaign group Tainted Blood, said: “It’s astonishing and outrageous really that this isn’t in the pipeline and ready to go when the government knew they had to do this.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “Reforming the current payment schemes for those affected remains a priority - we are absolutely determined to get this right and will finalise proposals after a full public consultation, which will be publically announced after the spending review.”