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Contaminated blood scandal campaigners reiterate demand for compensation: ‘The government can act quickly when it wants to’

PUBLISHED: 14:30 28 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:30 28 April 2020

Factor VIII blood products infected thousands of haemophiliacs with HIV and hepatitus C during the contamniated blood scandal of the 1980s and 1990s. Picture: Factor 8 Campaign UK

Factor VIII blood products infected thousands of haemophiliacs with HIV and hepatitus C during the contamniated blood scandal of the 1980s and 1990s. Picture: Factor 8 Campaign UK

Factor 8 Campaign UK

A group of campaigners have demanded to know why the government has yet to set out a framework for awarding compensation to those infected and affected by the contaminated blood scandal.

Last week Jason Evans, founder of the Factor 8 campaign group, wrote to the Prime Minister urging action.

Jason, whose father Jonathan died after receiving infected blood products in the 1990s has worked with the Ham&High in the past, wrote: “Some 3 months after meeting with ministers and officials at the Cabinet Office, there has still been no progress on the subject of a framework of compensation for those infected and affected by contaminated blood products.”

He called on the government to explain which minister now had responsibility for the scandal and added: “Recent events have shown that the government can act quickly when it wants to. We have been repeatedly told by your government that we are a ‘priority’ but the long delays and lack of response do not reflect this.”

In August more than 200 of those infected with hepatitis or HIV – or their family members – signed a letter demanding full compensation from the govenrment. These signatories included Mark Stewart, one of a number of haemophiliacs to contract hepatitis as a patient at the Royal Free Hospital’s hameophilia unit.

Victims of the contaminated blood inquiry. Pictures: Infected and affected familiesVictims of the contaminated blood inquiry. Pictures: Infected and affected families

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Mark’s brother and father both died after contracting hepatitis C.

The scandal, which saw thousands given blood products or transfusions which contained deadly viruses, is currently subject to an independent public inquiry led by Sir Brian Langstaff.

A government spokesperson said: “The Infected Blood Inquiry is a priority for the Government. The infected blood scandal should never have happened and we established the inquiry so that all those who suffered can get the answers they deserve.

“On January 28, the Minister for the Cabinet Office met with infected blood campaigners and agreed to consider a request to look at a framework for compensation before the inquiry reports.”

The Infected Blood Inquiry was forced to postpone hearings which had been set of June – and would have seen clinicians give evidence for the first time – due to the coronavirus outbreak.

These hearings have been rescheduled for September, but this week the inquiry also published thousands of witness statements given in evidence.


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