Response from Sir Peter Bottomley
SIR PETER HAS CAMPAIGNED ALONGSIDE LOCAL AND NATIONAL CAMPAIGNING GROUPS AND CHARITIES TO THE THOUSANDS OF HAEMOPHILIA PATIENTS IN THE 1970s AND 1980s WHO WERE INFECTED WITH TAINTED OR CONTAMINATED BLOOD BY THE NHS.
30 April 2019
Contaminated Blood Support
In a letter to the Prime Minister last week the APPG alongside The Haemophilia Society UK and 11 other campaigners asked for an urgent overhaul of the contaminated blood support schemes. Those affected should not need to worry about their financial situation for the duration of the Infected Blood Inquiry which opens today.
This follows a meeting on 21st of January between Ministers and the APPG during which the Government committed to looking at where further improvements might be made to the support provided by the existing infected blood scheme.
The Government’s announcement today that an extra £30m is to be allocated to contaminated blood support schemes is to be welcomed, but it is not yet clear if it measures up to the crucial concerns raised by the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood.
It is important that the extra funding announced today raises the minimum payment to an acceptable level so as to allow those affected a minimum standard of living during such an incredibly stressful period.
Below you can see both the letter sent to the Government and their response.
Letter to the Prime Minister
Response from the Government
27 September 2018
Contaminated Blood Enquiry
In the 1970s and 1980s, thousands of haemophilia patients were infected with contaminated blood. Over a thousand patients contracted HIV, at least 3,900 with Hepatitis C, and at least 1,200 patients have since died as a result - though some estimates place this quantity at higher than 2,400.
For several years, I have been vocal in calling for the Government to grant an inquiry into the scandal and to bring justice to the sufferers and the families and loved ones of those who sadly passed away. This year these calls were realised with the commencement of an inquiry which could last well over two years. The public inquiry is looking at how thousands of NHS patients were given infected blood products during the 1970s and 1980s in what has been dubbed the worst-ever NHS treatment disaster. This scandal has affected far more people than we can ascertain, including several local residents within Worthing.
This week the Government Enquiry into the Contaminated Blood Scandal began.
We can be grateful that some justice is finally within reach for those whose lives have been altered or shortened by the tragedy. Victims now have the opportunity to work closely with the investigation and bring their evidence and testimonies forwards.
So far I have attended every day of the Enquiry's proceedings and will continue to do so as much as possible. I am encouraged to see justice beginning to be delivered to those most affected by contaminated blood products.
This scandal has affected far more people than we can ascertain, including several local residents within Worthing. One such story can be read here: https://www.worthingherald.co.uk/…/infected-blood-product-c…
Further news and information will become available as the enquiry progresses.
Thank you for contacting me about those affected by infected blood products. As Chair of the APPG on Contanimated Blood, I know that these terrible events have had a dreadful impact on those affected and we must make sure that it may never be allowed to happen again.
I am encouraged to say that, as of 11th July 2017, the Government has announced that it will hold a full inquiry to understand exactly what happened, and how the infected blood tragedy occurred. The Health Secretary acknowledged that this tragedy caused 'unimaginable hardship and pain' for many, and I am happy that an inquiry is taking place.
I would like to note the Government's strong record in support of those who suffered. Since 1988, there have been five schemes to provide financial and other support to infected and affected people.
In the wake of the Penrose Report in Scotland, the Government allocated an additional £25 million to go towards securing a better payment and support system for affected individuals. Scheme reform has been a priority and I am pleased that the Government announced a further £100 million of support over this Spending Review period.
In July 2016, following the first public consultation, the Government announced reforms to the infected blood payment scheme. The changes aim to ensure that the support provided will be simple, equitable and responsive to individuals' circumstances, and available resources will be focused on those who are most in need.
More information on the changes can be found on the below webpage:
In previous years, the Group undertook an inquiry into the support for those affected by the contaminated blood scandal in the UK which was published in January 2015. Read the full report (PDF) or the executive summary (PDF).