INFECTED BLOOD INQUIRY
The Government established the Inquiry in 2017, a decision I wholeheartedly supported as thousands of people who expected treatment in our world-class NHS were failed. This is a scandal that never should have happened. The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry are incredibly vast and will cover why patients were given contaminated products; the family impact this has had; how the authorities and the Government has continued to respond; the support available; and whether there was any form of cover-up.
This Inquiry is judge-led by Sir Brian Longstaff QC and has an Expert Panel with over 1,300 members, including victims of the scandal. This Inquiry will confront the injustices and unfairness that victims have faced and will demand the answers that they deserve. I look forward to its final report which is currently due to be published in mid-2023. The Government are considering Sir Robert’s recommendations and the Minister will provide an update to the House as this work progresses.
- Interim Report
- How to take part in the Inquiry
- Psychological support provided by the Inquiry- The wellbeing of people participating in the Inquiry is extremely important to the Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff. The Inquiry is funding a confidential support service for anyone affected by treatment with infected blood or blood products. This is run by a team from the British Red Cross who have been working with the Inquiry since September 2018. You can contact the confidential support service directly by calling 0800 458 9473 or 0203 417 0280 at these times: Monday between 11am and 1pm, Wednesday between 7pm and 9pm, Friday between 2pm and 4pm. You can also leave a message at another time and the team will call you back as soon as possible, and on the same day where that is practical. When returning calls their number will appear as a private or withheld number.
Since 1988, successive governments have used 5 different compensation schemes and this Government has continued with this with the most generous iteration to annual payments of over £75 million.
UPDATE JULY 2019:
The four nations have each had their own individual compensation scheme and in July 2019 an agreement was reached to remove the disparities between them by making them far more equal, but crucially more generous.
The key elements for changes to the England Infected Blood Scheme include:
- Annual payments for bereaved partners increased to an automatic 100% in Year 1 and 75% in Year 2.
- The lump sum bereavement payment is now an automatic £10,000
- The lump sum to a beneficiary in the scheme with Hepatitis C Stage 1 increased to £50,000.
- The lump sum to a beneficiary in the scheme with HIV will increase to an automatic £80,500.
UPDATE March 2021:
The Government has publicly committed to addressing the UK-wide disparities in financial support for victims of infected blood and Health ministers across the UK have agreed in principle to resolve the disparities. I am therefore pleased to announce today that a number of important changes have been agreed to bring the national support schemes into broader parity. Increases in annual payments will be backdated to April 2019. Where lump sum payments are being increased, this will apply to all current scheme members.
Penny Mordaunt MP, PAYMASTER GENERAL "We have agreed with health Ministers that any future changes to national schemes would be subject to consultation between the UK Government and devolved administrations, to mitigate the risk of geographic disparities occurring in future. I have announced that I will appoint an independent reviewer to carry out a compensation study, look at options for a framework for compensation, and report back to me with recommendations. Work to appoint the independent reviewer is at an advanced stage and I will make a further announcement on this as soon as this is ready. The study is entirely separate from the public inquiry; it will not duplicate the work of the Inquiry or cut across the Inquiry’s findings. The study will provide me with advice on potential compensation framework design and solutions which can be ready to implement upon the conclusion of the Inquiry, should the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations require it."
UPDATE JULY 2022 - The Compensation Framework:
There needs to be a framework in place for any compensation scheme that the Inquiry may decide upon and so the Government appointed Sir Robert Francis QC to conduct an independent review to assess the potential options. Sir Robert has now finalised his potential recommendations and I know the Inquiry Chair has discussed the potential need for interim payments for victims. I know my Ministerial colleagues are now assessing these options and await the findings of the full Inquiry. The Government will respond quickly to the findings.
UPDATE – 17th AUGUST 2022:
Following the publication of Sir Brian Langstaff’s interim report and the considerations of Sir Robert Francis QC, the Government has now accepted in full the recommendations for those affected to receive interim compensation payments.
Victims will each receive interim payments of £100,000 with the intention this will be made by the end of October. Victims and bereaved partners who are registered to any of the 4 UK schemes will receive this payment. The intention is that this will be tax-free and not affect any other financial support and benefits that victims currently receive. The total support is estimated to amount to £400 million in compensation.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "While nothing can make up for the pain and suffering endured by those affected by this tragic injustice, we are taking action to do right by victims and those who have tragically lost their partners by making sure they receive these interim payments as quickly as possible. We will continue to stand by all those impacted by this horrific tragedy, and I want to personally pay tribute to all those who have so determinedly fought for justice."
Advice on how these payments will be made will be provided shortly.
If you have been affected...
The England Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS) supports people historically infected with hepatitis C and/or HIV from blood or blood products. They also help families, civil or long-term partners after the death of someone infected. Support is available for:
- people historically infected with hepatitis C and/or HIV from NHS blood or blood products
- families, civil or long-term partners after the death of someone infected
- APPLY ONLINE
- People infected with hepatitis C - stage 1 payment If you were chronically infected with hepatitis C, you can claim: a one-off lump sum of £50,000, regular payments - currently £19,498 a year or £29,569 subject to meeting the qualifying criteria for the Special Category Mechanism** , annual winter fuel payment of £561 **These rates are for the financial year 2022/2023. The payment amounts and assessment criteria may be reviewed in the future.
- Requesting medical records: The England Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS) supports people historically infected with hepatitis C and HIV from NHS blood or blood products. This guidance will help you request your medical records, someone else’s medical records (with consent) or medical records of a deceased family member to support applications for Hepatitis C stage 1 and 2 payments and HIV payments.
- People infected with HIV: The scheme recognises that individuals living with HIV face extra costs. If you have HIV you can claim a lump sum of £80,500. You can also claim- regular payments - currently £29,569 a year, annual winter fuel costs £561 These rates are for the financial year 2022/2023. The payment amounts and assessment criteria may be reviewed in the future.
If you have been directly affected by this issue or know somebody that has then you can contact the England Infected Blood Support Scheme:
HOW TO CONTACT:
- EMAIL – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone – 0300 330 1294 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)