Infected Blood Scandal Payouts Could Reach Billions, Says Report | Tainted Blood Scandal

Compensation for victims of the infected blood scandal could reach billions of pounds after a government-commissioned report suggested thousands of people should receive minimum payments of £100,000 each.

Sir Robert Francis QC, has been asked to make recommendations for a compensation and redress framework for those infected after receiving factor VIII blood products contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C imported from the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, or after being exposed to contaminated blood through transfusions or after childbirth. It has been described as the biggest treatment disaster in NHS history.

In his study, published on Tuesday, Francis says there is a compelling case for providing interim payments as soon as possible to those previously accepted as eligible for aid.

He says, “Many wish they could settle their affairs before they die. Although it is difficult to do so before the regime has been set up and is fully operational, and before the conclusions of the [public] investigation are available, I suggest that such payment be made now, reflecting the minimum anyone infected could be expected to receive under the program. I suggested it’s unlikely to be less than £100,000 in any case.

While Francis says it is currently not possible to know the number of people who might be eligible for compensation if a scheme were to be put in place, it has already been suggested that up to 30,000 people have fallen seriously sick as a result of the scandal, with around 3,000 dead so far. If tens of thousands of people received £100,000 each, the total compensation would be in the billions.

However, campaign group Factor 8 disputed that such a high number of people were infected and noted that some believe it was made up to “make the scandal appear ‘too expensive to make up for'”. It says that in 2015, 5,500 people had accessed financial assistance, which would have included widows, children, infected partners and other beneficiaries of the estate as well as infected people.

Jason Evans, whose father died after receiving tainted blood and who founded the Factor 8 campaign, welcomed the report, adding: “What’s important now is that we have time to read it fully and to examine it. At this time, the government has not committed to pay compensation and it is important that all those affected understand this. I think it would provide some sense of security if the government made such a commitment before the inquiry reports next year.

The report recommends that victims be compensated for, among other things, physical and social harm, stigma and social isolation, cost of care and loss of income. It also recommends that the partners, children, brothers and sisters and parents of infected persons as well as other family members or very close friends who have suffered mental or physical consequences be admitted to the compensation scheme.

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Kate Burt, CEO of the Hemophilia Society, said: “Thousands of people have died waiting for the government to do the right thing – now is the time to act.

Des Collins, senior partner at Collins Solicitors, legal counsel to more than 1,500 victims of the infected blood scandal, also called for swift action, but said it was “undoubtedly a historic day for the many activists who fought so hard for 40 years.” .

The government said the analysis of Francis’ findings “cannot be completed in a hurry”.