‘Tainted blood’ victims should receive £100,000 in damages as many are running out of time and ‘will not survive long enough’ to see the money, review says
- Tainted-blood scandal victims should be compensated £100,000, a review said
- The scandal has been called ‘the worst treatment disaster in NHS history’
- Up to 30,000 Brits were infected in the 70s and 80s and some 3,000 have died
Victims of the tainted-blood scandal should be urgently compensated £100,000 each as many are ‘worryingly unwell’ and running out of time, a review has said.
Sir Robert Francis QC urged ministers to immediately make the interim payments to those who contracted HIV and hepatitis in what has been called ‘the worst treatment disaster in NHS history’.
Up to 30,000 Britons were infected in the Seventies and Eighties after being treated with cheap US blood products. Some 3,000 have died but, as the Government never admitted liability, victims did not receive compensation.
Wendy Stubbs said it is already too late for the ‘love of her life’ Stephen, 63, who is rapidly deteriorating as a result of contracting hepatitis C from blood products in the 1980s
Sir Robert, who led the Government-ordered review, said he had recommended the measure since many victims fear ‘they will not survive long enough to see… the fruits of [compensation]’.
Sir Robert wrote in his 195 page report: ‘There are those who fear they will not survive long enough to see, let alone enjoy, the fruits of an award of compensation.
‘This is a principle reason why I have recommended the unusual measure of an immediate interim award to those infected persons who are already beneficiaries of the existing support schemes, in anticipation of, but before, the scheme has been set up.’
Clair Walton (pictured), 59, contracted HIV from her haemophiliac husband Bryan, who died at 34 after receiving infected blood
He said that most of the eligible infected people would expect to receive an award of at least £100,000.
‘Therefore, I recommend that arrangements should be made immediately through the existing support schemes for an interim lump sum payment of compensation to be made to every living infected person accepted by a support scheme as eligible for annual support payments,’ he added.
Stephen Stubbs, 63, is among the thousands of people on the existing schemes who will be eligible for the interim payments.
The grandfather is rapidly deteriorating after contracting Hepatitis C from contaminated products in the 1980s and is living out his days in a care home.
His wife Wendy, welcomed the report last night. She said: ‘Its great news but not a celebration, just a relief that all these victims will hopefully get some dignity and security.
‘I’ve been trying to get compensation for my husband for a long time so it is music to my ears but the government needs to act urgently.
‘People like Stephen won’t be able to do much with it now but it means we can make sure they are comfortable.’
Des Collins, a senior partner at Collins Solicitors, which is advising over 1,500 victims of the infected blood scandal, said the review marked a ‘historic day’ and a ‘meaningful step in the right direction’.
In March 2021, the then Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt said an independent reviewer would examine the scope of compensation before the Infected Blood Inquiry ends next autumn
He said: ‘At long last, in Sir Robert’s report, it’s clear the Government is encouraged to recognise the need to compensate the thousands of victims of this terrible scandal.
Mr Collins said however it was important that the Government implement the recommendations as soon as possible.
He added: ‘That said, this is undoubtedly an historic day for the many campaigners who have fought so hard for up to 40 years, to have their suffering and those of their loved ones recognised and compensated by Government.’
Kate Burt, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, called for swift action, adding: ‘Thousands have died waiting for government to do the right thing – now the time has come to act.
‘The Government must approve an immediate interim payment for those infected to give them and their loved ones some financial security and acknowledge the harm that has been caused.’
Cabinet Office minister, Michael Ellis, said in a written statement to Parliament, that government officials were examining the review.
He said that the Government would use it to be ready to ‘respond quickly’ to the final report by the long-running Infected Blood Inquiry which is due to conclude at the end of this year.