Contaminated blood: Long-awaited consultation launched
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A long-awaited blueprint outlining payments for the care and support of victims of the contaminated blood scandal has today taken a huge leap forward.
Health minister Jane Ellison MP has launched a 12-week consultation into proposals that will see people whose blood was infected in the 1980s assessed to establish how much they should be given in an annual payment towards care costs.
Alongside the plans to extend the number of people receiving these payouts, proposals to give support to newly bereaved partners and spouses have also been set out alongside access to new treatments for Hepatitis C.
But the consultation does not include compensation payouts, which have been called for by victims and campaigners.
Angela Farrugialost three brothers to the scandal, 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.
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Victor died from Aids in 2002, aged 63, after suffering years of stigma.
She told the Recorder in November that she felt “frustrated” over delays in reaching a settlement, adding: “Prime minister David Cameron seems to be dragging his feet.”
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This latest move comes after the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Italy must pay £7.7million to more than 350 people who contracted deadly viruses, including HIV and hepatitis C, from contaminated blood products.
The court ruled that victims were entitled to compensation because “the causal link between the transfusion of infected blood and their contamination has been proved”.
Government health officials said: “We feel there is a need for a more accessible and equitable system of care and support that focuses on the welfare of infected individuals.
“The Department of Health recognises its responsibility to everyone infected as a result of NHS treatment and wants to tailor the approach accordingly.”
Ms Ellison, MP for Battersea, told her fellow MPs that she realised the consultation, which has seen many delays since it was announced, would come too late for some people.