HEALTH Secretary Shona Robison has pledged to review payment schemes for those infected by contaminated blood in the wake of the Penrose inquiry into the scandal.
In a statement to Holyrood, she described the contamination of blood as “one of the greatest healthcare-related tragedies ever witnesses in this country” as she repeated her apology to patients on behalf of the NHS.
This is one of the greatest healthcare-related tragediesShona Robison
Ms Robison promised that the Scottish Government would look at the payments after Lord Penrose published his investigation into the thousands of people who contracted Hepatitis C and HIV through NHS treatment.
Her response came the day after the Penrose inquiry was condemned as a “whitewash” by campaigners and patients.
David Cameron has already confirmed that £25 million in compensation will be made available following the investigation into the contamination, which took place from the early 1970s to the early 1990s.
Ms Robison said the Scottish Government contributed to two payment schemes for those infected with Hepatitis C.
The first is the Skipton Fund, which provides lump sum and annual payments, and the second is the Caxton Foundation which provides discretionary payments to affected people and their dependents.
Ms Robison said that over the last ten years, the Scottish Government has contributed more than £30m to these funds for affected people in Scotland.
There are payment schemes which pre-date devolution for those infected with HIV. These are managed by the UK Department of Health.
The Health Secretary said: “It is right to acknowledge that many patients are of the view that the payments they receive are insufficient. This view is reflected in the Penrose report.
“We have already committed to reviewing these schemes and we will now move ahead with that. Given the two HIV support schemes pre-date devolution and are managed by the UK Department of Health, we will work with the other UK countries to take this forward .”
Ms Robison said she would listen to the views of those affected and would be establishing a patients and families reference group to help review the payment schemes.
In addition, she said the Government was funding the Scottish Infected Blood Forum so that it could carry out an investigation into the kind of support required.
The Government is also working with Haemophilia Scotland on pilot scheme for social work and psychological support for affected patients.
A national managed clinical network will soon be established for people with inherited bleeding disorders.
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