£100,000 must go to infected blood victims and bereaved partners – inquiry head

The inquiry's chair Sir Brian Langstaff

The inquiry's chair, Sir Brian Langstaff - Credit: Infected Blood Inquiry

At least £100,000 should be paid to all infected blood victims and bereaved partners across the UK, the chairman of the inquiry into the issue has said.

The compensation should be paid “without delay” to those affected, Sir Brian Langstaff wrote in an interim report published on Friday.

The inquiry is investigating how thousands, including Royal Free Hospital patients, contracted Hepatitis C and/or HIV from infected blood products during the 1970s and 1980s.

About 2,400 people died in what has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

In a letter to Paymaster General Michael Ellis accompanying the report, Sir Brian said: “As you will read, it was the force of Sir Robert Francis QC’s recommendation of an interim payment, as amplified by him in the course of his oral evidence to the inquiry, that caused me to reflect on whether I should exercise my powers to make such a report.

“I believed that elementary justice required that I consider this question. No submission made to me argued that I should not make a recommendation.

“Having considered the submissions and reflected on the evidence this inquiry has heard of profound physical and mental suffering across a wide range of backgrounds, from a diversity of places and in a variety of personal circumstances, I considered it right that I should make this report.

“I recommend that: (1) An interim payment should be paid, without delay, to all those infected and all bereaved partners currently registered on UK infected blood support schemes, and those who register between now and the inception of any future scheme; (2) The amount should be no less than £100,000, as recommended by Sir Robert Francis QC.”

Most Read

A report on the interim payments by Sir Robert, who studied options for a framework for compensation for victims of the infected blood tragedy, was published in June.

Speaking at the end of Friday’s inquiry hearing, Sir Brian Langstaff made it clear his recommendation did not have to be accepted by the Government but added his report on interim payments was “not the end of the inquiry’s work, and the question of compensation”.