‘The government gave my East Ham brother Aids - now they offer £10,000 insult’
- Credit: Archant
The family of an East Ham man who was infected with Aids by NHS blood products have denounced a government scheme that offers just £10,000 in recognition of his tragic death.
As one of his final acts as Prime Minster last week David Cameron revealed how £125million will be spent to help people affected by the contaminated blood scandal at his last ever Prime Minister’s Questions.
Mr Cameron unveiled details of a new payments scheme for thousands of people who were infected with hepatitis C (hep C) or HIV through treatment with NHS blood products.
But the family of East Ham victim of the disaster Victor Farrugia, who died from Aids in 2002, has denounced the scheme.
Former merchant navy man Victor had suffered years of stigma, with his home vandalised and “Aids scum scrawled on the door, before his death. Now the most his family is likely to receive is a £10,000 payment into his estate.
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Victor’s sister Angela Farrugia, who also lost two other brothers to the health disaster, said: “My brothers are dead and forgotten, and basically so are their widows and offspring, they’ve just been ruled out of any kind of compensation.
“I understand the government has got to look after the people that are still alive but it seems because my brothers are dead that’s the end of the story for their families, and that’s wrong.”
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Victor was one of at least 2,000 who have died after being infected by blood products used by the NHS up until 1991, some sourced from high risk donors such as prisoners and drug addicts in America.
The three dead Farrugia brothers were all haemophiliacs and needed treatment to help their blood clot.
Tragically this meant they were regularly exposed to blood products riddled with the killer viruses.
The government has never paid compensation to the children of those who died but widows are now entitled to a £10,000 one-off payment.
Victor’s nephew Tony Farrugia, whose dad Barry died from Aids aged 37 in 1986, said: “Paying someone £10,000 for the loss of a loved one, the loss of my dad, that’s 91p a day for the 30 years since he died.
“That wouldn’t even pay for the cost of a decent burial today. That’s all the widows are getting and it’s disgusting. And the children of the dead are completely overlooked.”
David Cameron said the new system of payments was “much fairer and more comprehensive”.
But campaign groups have called the scheme “insulting and miserly” saying it compares unfavourably to arrangements for contaminated blood victims in Scotland.
The group Tainted Blood said: “The government’s consultation response has just come in and we’re thoroughly disgusted with it.”
Mr Cameron has apologised for the scandal saying “it should never have happened”.