Funding boost for HIV patients contaminated through NHS blood
The government has announced increased funding for people infected by HIV through contaminated NHS blood and blood products.
The Department of Health has promised to increase funding to £12,800 per year for the victims who have HIV but has decided not to give any additional payments to those who received blood infected with hepatitis C.
Thousand of people in the UK - mainly those suffering from haemophilia - were infected during the 1970s and 1980s after using blood products.
The fund for people with hepatitis C, which works through a series of lump sum payments and was set up much more recently, has funding available until 2014, after which it will be reviewed, the government said. However, the DH has said it will give the Haemophilia Society an extra £100,000 per year for the next five years.
Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: ‘I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to all those who suffered in this tragic episode.
‘Sadly, it was not possible to effectively test for these viruses in the 1970s and early 80s and we deeply regret that these events occurred following NHS treatment.’
An independent inquiry into the scandal, carried out by Lord Archer of Sandwell, was published in February and called for a government-backed payment scheme to replace the ones that are administered by charitable trusts, which victims have complained can be hard to access.
Lord Archer also wanted to see a committee of specialists to act as official advisers to ministers over on-going compensation claims and the treatment of victims. Both proposals have been rejected by the government.
He said the government response was a ‘faltering step that only compounds the anguish of the afflicted and bereaved’.