UK: Hepatitis C patients given contaminated blood refused compensation
The ‘anguish’ of thousands of hepatitis C patients given contaminated blood was compounded by the Government refusing to offer compensation, it has been claimed.
London Telegraph >> Originally Posted 20th May 2009
Earlier this year, Lord Archer of Sandwell recommended substantial compensation payments to 4,670 haemophiliacs who received blood in the 1970s and 1980s and were infected with hepatitis C. Some 1,243 were also infected with HIV.
Nearly 2,000 people have died as a result of exposure to the tainted blood and many suffer debilitating illness.
But now the Government has announced it would only increase payments to those who contracted HIV, not to victims with hepatitis C, and it rejected calls to set up a statutory advisory panel to consult with patients over the issue of blood product safety.
Lord Archer condemned the Government’s response as “deeply disquieting”.
He said: “It is a faltering step that only compounds the anguish of the afflicted and bereaved. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that humanitarian impulses have come a bad second to Treasury constraints.”
In the Government’s response to the Archer inquiry ministers pledged to increase the annual payments to those with HIV to £12,800 but this was dismissed as ‘paltry’ by Lord Archer.