fbpx
Sunday, June 23, 2024
Sunday June 23, 2024
Sunday June 23, 2024

UK government announces £2 million compensation for infected blood victims

PUBLISHED ON

|

Compensation scheme set to address NHS’s worst treatment disaster

The UK government has unveiled a comprehensive compensation scheme for victims of the infected blood scandal, marking a significant step towards justice for those affected. The scandal, which has been deemed the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, saw more than 30,000 individuals infected with deadly viruses like HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products and transfusions between 1970 and 1991. With the first payments scheduled to be made by the end of the year, the government has committed to providing more than £2 million to each victim, with the total compensation package potentially reaching £10 billion.

The scheme follows the publication of the public inquiry’s report into the scandal, which highlighted the severe failures and cover-ups by authorities that led to the widespread infections and deaths of many haemophiliacs who relied on blood products for their treatment. The inquiry report prompted a detailed compensation plan that will address not only the direct victims but also their families and loved ones. The interim payments of £210,000 set for this summer will offer immediate relief to 4,000 victims who have previously received partial compensation, while the broader scheme will extend financial support to a wider group, including children and parents of the infected individuals.

The compensation will be evaluated based on five criteria: injury and harm caused, social impact from stigma and isolation, impact on autonomy and private life, care costs, and financial loss. The government has promised substantial payouts, with specific amounts depending on individual circumstances. Victims with both HIV and hepatitis are expected to receive over £2 million, while those with liver damage from hepatitis could get around £1 million. The scheme also includes provisions for the family members of deceased victims, ensuring they receive financial support and recognition for their losses. The establishment of the Infected Blood Compensation Authority, led initially by Sir Robert Francis, will oversee the distribution of these payments, which can be taken as lump sums or through a series of installments.

BBC

The BBC’s coverage of the infected blood scandal compensation scheme provides a thorough overview of the government’s response to what has been described as the NHS’s worst treatment disaster. The report highlights that victims could receive over £2 million each under the newly announced scheme, which comes after the public inquiry’s findings were made public. The inquiry revealed a significant cover-up by authorities, exposing victims to unacceptable risks.

The government has committed to making the first payments by the end of the year and additional interim payments of £210,000 to 4,000 victims this summer. This is in addition to the £100,000 already received by these individuals. The BBC notes that the compensation will eventually extend to a broader group, including family members of those infected, marking the first time children or parents will receive any financial payment. The total cost of this compensation scheme could reach around £10 billion.

The article emphasizes the five criteria under which compensation will be judged: injury and harm, social impact, impact on autonomy and private life, care costs, and financial loss. Typical payouts for those infected with HIV or both HIV and hepatitis will exceed £2 million, while those with hepatitis-causing liver damage will receive about £1 million. The report also mentions that those with extreme care costs or who were high earners before their infection could receive even higher compensation.

The BBC also highlights the establishment of the Infected Blood Compensation Authority, which will oversee the compensation process. This new body will be led initially by Sir Robert Francis, known for his role in the Stafford Hospital inquiry. The government proposes that compensation be available as either a lump sum or through a series of payments, with the scheme to be consulted on in the coming weeks. From next April, the new scheme will replace the existing financial support system that has been in place since 1989, which has provided significant annual payments to some victims and their partners.

Paymaster General John Glen, who announced the details in the House of Commons, reiterated the apology made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, acknowledging the unimaginable pain suffered by the victims. The government hopes this compensation package will be seen as a response to the long-standing cries for justice from the infected blood community. However, the BBC report also includes criticism from legal representatives and campaigners who argue that the government should have acted on compensation recommendations sooner. Despite the positive steps forward, some campaigners express concerns about the wait for compensation and the disparity in interim payments.

Sky News

Sky News offers an in-depth look at the infected blood scandal compensation scheme, focusing on the government’s illustrative figures published on the Infected Blood Compensation Authority section of the government website. These figures suggest that victims of the scandal could receive over £2 million each in compensation, with specific amounts varying based on the severity of their conditions.

According to the Sky News report, the government documents indicate that those living with HIV as a result of the scandal might receive between £2.2 million and £2.6 million. Payments for those infected with hepatitis range from £35,500 for an acute infection to £1,557,000 for severe cases. Individuals with both HIV and hepatitis could receive up to £2.7 million. The report reiterates that more than 30,000 people were infected with deadly viruses between the 1970s and early 1990s through contaminated blood products and transfusions provided by the NHS.

Sky News underscores the public inquiry’s findings that the scandal, which resulted in around 3,000 deaths, could have been largely avoided and was subject to a pervasive cover-up. Cabinet Office Minister John Glen acknowledged the urgency of the situation and confirmed that the first full compensation payments will be made by the end of the year, with interim payments of £210,000 to be distributed before the summer ends. Glen also stated that family members of those infected would be eligible for compensation, with illustrative figures showing partners of those living with HIV might receive £110,000, children £55,000, and siblings £30,000.

The article highlights Glen’s assurance that those already registered with existing support schemes would automatically be considered for the new compensation scheme. The compensation will be awarded based on five categories: injury, social impact, autonomy, care, and financial loss, with multiple awards possible for applicable categories. The government’s detailed plans include provisions for a variety of family members, ensuring that those who have acted as carers or who have been significantly impacted by the loss of their loved ones are compensated.

The Sky News coverage also features reactions from campaigners and legal representatives. Jason Evans, director of the Factor 8 campaign group, called for more clarity on the scheme and expressed concerns about disparities in interim payments. Richard Angell, chief executive at the Terrence Higgins Trust, stressed the importance of ensuring timely compensation for all entitled individuals. Despite some criticisms, the announcement is seen as a significant step towards addressing the injustices faced by the victims of the infected blood scandal.

The Guardian 

The Guardian’s coverage of the infected blood scandal not only addresses the recent developments in the UK but also provides a comparative analysis of how similar issues have been handled in other countries. The report begins by noting that victims in the UK finally gained a measure of justice nearly 50 years after the scandal began, with the government announcing substantial compensation payments following the public inquiry’s findings.

In Australia, the scandal remains underrecognized, with the government estimating up to 8,000 victims, while advocacy groups claim the number could be as high as 20,000. Financial assistance provided through a trust established in the early 1990s was not considered compensation, and a Senate inquiry in 2004 recommended covering victims’ medical costs, which the government has not implemented.

In Canada, around 2,000 people were infected with HIV, and 30,000 with hepatitis C through tainted blood products in the 1980s. The Krever inquiry in 1993 led to a landmark report in 1997, resulting in criminal charges and a significant compensation package after legal battles. The Canadian Red Cross was fined, and the government eventually offered compensation to those infected with HIV and hepatitis C.

China faced a unique issue with illicit blood centers in the mid-1990s, leading to many infections among impoverished farmers. Despite tightening safeguards, the government often misclassified HIV infections, attributing them to drug use or prostitution. France saw political and legal ramifications, with several high-profile figures charged and the director of the National Blood Centre sentenced to prison.

Ireland established the Lindsay tribunal in 1999, which recommended a comprehensive care and compensation package for nearly 2,000 victims. The state bill for compensation exceeded €1 billion by 2007. Italy’s health ministry was ordered to pay damages in 2001 for slow preventative measures, while Japan’s government and companies settled compensation cases in the 1990s, leading to prison terms for several officials.

In the US, haemophiliacs sought compensation through litigation, resulting in a $660 million settlement in 1997 from four major blood product manufacturers. This allowed thousands of haemophiliacs to receive compensation for infections contracted in the early 1980s.

The Guardian’s detailed international perspective underscores the global impact of contaminated blood scandals and highlights the varying degrees of justice and compensation achieved by victims in different countries. This broader context provides a comprehensive understanding of the UK’s recent compensation scheme and its significance in addressing one of the NHS’s darkest chapters.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles