Blood bank needs to pay out.
The worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS
On Wednesday 25 March 2015, the Penrose Inquiry will publish its Final Report in which patients treated by the NHS in Scotland became infected with Hepatitis C, HIV, or both, through the use of blood or blood products. The products were imported by the Department of Health from US pharmaceutical companies during the 1970s and 1980s.
It is believed that more than 27,000 patients in the UK could have been given contaminated blood diseases from high risk donors, including prostitutes and prisoners. Many victims needed liver transplants and dialysis, and people inadvertently infected partners and their children with diseases. Over 2,000 patients have died as a result and many others have had their lives devastated by ill health.
A number of schemes have been introduced by the Department of Health to make payments to infected victims. Unhelpfully, rather than going directly to victims, those infected must prove their entitlement to the funds to the scheme, which may or may not provide them with adequate provision.
Despite ongoing lobbying, successive UK Governments have continued to resist calls for a public enquiry, arguing that there had been no wrongdoing and that existing support for victims is sufficient. However, groups representing the victims such as the Haemophilia Society, the Hepatitis C Trust, Tainted Blood and the Manor House Group, have contested this claim and lobbied for many years for both financial compensation and a public inquiry (Colthart, G, 13/7/2011 ‘HIV and Hepatitis C infection from contaminated blood and blood products’ House of Commons Library).
Taintedblood explains that:
“Whilst there are some minor positive points, we are devastated by this announcement. There are a limited number of people that the new financial support will be available to and the level of payment to those who will qualify is hugely disappointing. It will not bring to an end the years of suffering and will mean that the campaign for achieving proper compensation for all will continue with a new vigour.”
Taintedblood, Government Announces another Inadequate Support Scheme for Contaminated Blood Sufferers, 10 January 2011
Whilst the Final Report will address the insufficient financial support in place for the victims and the families, it is about more than just compensation and blame. The Report is about Government accountability and an opportunity for the British Government to make an unreserved apology to those affected citizens, an apology which has been a long time coming. Perhaps only then, can the victims and their families come to terms with the consequences of their damaged lives.
If you or your family have been affected by the scandal, please contact Attwood Solicitors for further advice and assistance.
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