Worcester campaigner hopes 'end is in sight' in blood scandal fight - The Worcester Observer

Worcester campaigner hopes 'end is in sight' in blood scandal fight

Worcester Editorial 10th May, 2024   0

A WORCESTER campaigner calling for justice for those impacted by the Infected Blood Scandal said he is hopeful they were nearing the end of their fight after the government committed to setting up an arms-length body to establish a compensation scheme for victims.

Amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill were made last week on the same day a petition, signed by those in Worcester who claim to have been impacted by the scandal, was presented calling for adequate cash to be delivered to victims ‘as soon as possible.’

The Infected Blood Inquiry was set up in 2017 to investigate the circumstances which led to thousands of UK patients contracting HIV, hepatitis viruses, or both, from contaminated blood or blood products.

The Hepatitis C Trust claim more than 30,000 people in the UK were given treatments infected with HIV and Hepatitis C and over 3,000 people died.

The Victims Bill amendments confirmed the Government would make the required regulations for the compensation scheme within three months of Royal Assent and all funding needed would be available once victims were identified and claims assessed.

A statutory duty has also been included to provide additional interim payments to the estates of deceased infected people.

Andrew Evans, who signed the petition presented to Parliament, said he was infected with HIV and Hepatitis C as a small child through his haemophilia treatment.

Those in Worcester who signed the Parliamentary petition, presented by Worcester MP Robin Walker, claim to have either been directly infected or had family members who have suffered as a result of the scandal during the 1970s and 1980s.

Andrew, who went on to become the co-founder of the Worcester-based TaintedBlood campaign group, told the Observer the government has had to be dragged, ‘kicking and screaming’, to make any progress on assisting victims of this scandal.

A December vote on the amendment proposed by Dame Diana Johnson saw 22 Tory MPs, including Mr Walker, defy their party’s wish to defer any amendments until after the Infected Blood Inquiry’s final report.

Andrew added: “As we hopefully near the end of our long fight for justice, we’re heartened by huge support, both from the public and across the political spectrum in both parliamentary Houses.”

The Inquiry published 18 recommendations on who should receive compensation and how it should be delivered in April 2023.

The report stated interim compensation payments of £100,000 should be extended to bereaved parents and children.

Mr Walker, whose petition called for all 18 of these recommendations to be implemented ‘without delay’, said he wanted to make sure the Government delivered on its promise to properly compensate victims.

A Government spokesperson said: “This was an appalling tragedy that never should have happened.

“We will continue to listen carefully to the community as we address this dreadful scandal.”


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