• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Oxfordshire victims of the infected blood scandal must be compensated ‘immediately’


Aug 3, 2022

VICTIMS and families affected by the infected blood scandal must be paid their £100,000 compensation packets “immediately”, their lawyer has said.

An estimated 2,400 people died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s in what has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

In 2017, up to 100 people treated at the Oxford Haemophilia Centre in the Churchill Hospital during those years were set to sue the Department for Health.

For more than 30 years, haemophiliacs who contracted HIV and hepatitis C from NHS-provided blood products have fought for justice, along with their families.

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There are 2,007 core participants in the inquiry who are infected or affected but research is ongoing to reach estimates for the total number of survivors.

On Friday, Sir Brian Langstaff, the chairman of the inquiry into the tragedy, said the money should be paid to more than 2,000 surviving victims “without delay” and Des Collins, senior partner at Collins Solicitors, who represent the victims, has demanded that it is paid within 14 days.

Mr Collins told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight programme: “When I say immediately I don’t mean within three months, I mean immediately. It must be within days or weeks.

“I would have said 14 days is not an unreasonable time for the wheels to be put in motion and that’s what we will be asking for on Monday.”

A Government spokesperson said it would consider the former High Court judge’s report with “the utmost urgency” and “respond as soon as possible”.

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Former health secretaries Andy Burnham, Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock have also stressed the importance of issuing the £100,000 recommended payouts as soon as possible.

Mr Hancock has also said the Government has a “moral duty” to pay compensation to infected blood victims and said he was “confident” it will.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Of course, the Government needs to pay compensation as soon as practicable.

“I heard what the Cabinet Office said having been a minister, having been a Cabinet Office Minister, my reading between the lines of that is that they’re going to get on with this pretty quickly”.

He urged whoever becomes the next prime minister to pay the compensation, saying: “My view is that when a Government sets up an inquiry like this, which we were right to do, it is then a moral duty on the state, on the Government, to pay compensation.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi