£20m more for NHS contaminated blood scandal victims

Victims will received �20 million more in financial support. Picture: Contributed
Victims will received �20 million more in financial support. Picture: Contributed
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Financial support for people in Scotland affected by the contaminated blood scandal is to be strengthened with an extra £20 million over the next three years.

The Scottish Government made the announcement as it accepted the key financial recommendations of the group established to look into the financial arrangements.

Hundreds of people in Scotland, many of whom were haemophiliac patients, were infected with hepatitis C and HIV through contaminated blood and blood products by the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s.

Following the publication last March of the findings of the six-year Penrose inquiry into infected NHS blood, Scottish health secretary Shona Robison set up the independent financial review group.

It recommended those infected with HIV, or who developed advanced Hepatitis C, should get £27,000 per year – the equivalent of the average Scottish salary – an increase from the offer of £15,000.

Ms Robison confirmed yesterday that she has accepted in full the financial recommendations put forward by the group, which involved patient and family representatives.

A new Scottish support and assistance grants scheme will be established to administer financial support, with funding increasing from £300,000 to £1m per year.

The recommendations also include increasing annual payments for people with both HIV and hepatitis C from £30,000 to £37,000. When a recipient dies, their spouse or civil partner will continue to receive 75 per cent of their annual payment.

Those infected with chronic hepatitis C will receive a £50,000 lump sum payment – previously £20,000.

Ms Robison said: “Infected blood is one of the most terrible chapters in the history of our NHS.

“Those affected have suffered dreadful impacts on their health, life expectancy and quality of life, including financial losses.

Bill Wright, of Haemophilia Scotland, said: “No scheme can truly make up for the loss of life, and health, caused by this disaster.

“The cabinet secretary has acknowledged that there is more to be done once these schemes move to Scotland. However, today, we have made historic progress.”