Contaminated blood campaign groups in dispute with Terrence Higgins Trust

Campaigners in ties and ribbons, outside Church House, Westminster, as the preliminary hearings of

Victims of the contaminated blood scandal are concerned about the Terrence Higgins Trust's administration of funding earmarked for them - Credit: Archant

A number of contaminated blood campaign groups have criticised the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) for its management of money meant to support victims of the scandal. 

THT was assigned the funding left at the wound-up Macfarlane Trust, which was earmarked to support haemophiliacs infected with HIV through contaminated blood.  

Five organisations - the Birchgrove Group, Positive Women, Haemosexual,  Haemophilia Wales and Tainted Blood - have signed a letter to THT's chief exec Ian Green. 

The letter stated: "It has become quite clear that the involvement of this outside organisation would do more harm than good and is not wanted."

This comes as the Infected Blood inquiry led by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff continues to investigate the scandal - which saw thousands given blood products contaminated with viruses including HIV and hepatitis C.

The letter continued: "THT as we have stated many times have no idea of complications within Haemophillia and HIV and related medical conditions. THT have moved to be involved with the community only since receiving [Macfarlane Trust] funds which in itself has and is being questioned in the manner this happened."

The organisations are concerned that THT does not understand the particular concerns of HIV-positive haemophiliacs. They have asked for the remaining funding to be split between those who should benefit from it.

Mark Ward, a former Royal Free patient and one of those involved in the letter, said there is a concern that THT is not listening.

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Mark said he is concerned specialist psychological support for victims is dependent on proving "charitable need".

Mark Ward outside of Church House, Westminster ahead of the preliminary hearings of the Infected Blo

Campaigner Mark Ward founded the Haemosexual group advocating for LGBTQ+ haeomophiliacs - Credit: Archant

Richard Angell, campaigns director at THT, said: “We are supporting those infected and affected by HIV via contaminated blood products and the work we have done has been in consultation with the community.

"We are working to right historic wrongs, providing bespoke services and have joined community organisations to get justice."

He said THT is "committed to using our resources to ensure justice is done" and that "this will always be in consultation with members of the community and where possible done in partnership with community groups".

He said when the Macfarlane Trust's assets were transferred to THT, its "first act" was to write off historic loans and charges against victims' homes. He said THT ias offering "access to a trauma therapy service for those infected and affected by HIV because of contaminated blood products".