Contaminated blood scandal campaigner Jackie hopes protest will keep the focus on her struggle for justice
A WOMAN who contracted hepatitis C from contaminated blood in a transfusion says she hopes a march in Westminster will draw attention to her and her fellow protestors' situation.
Jackie Britton, from Portchester, travelled to London yesterday to take part in the protest against financial reforms for victims like her. She also sat in on a debate in the House of Commons where the changes were discussed.
Jackie, 52, said: ‘The protest in London went really well.
‘There was a hearse that did slow laps near the House of Commons with a floral tribute to victims who have died from the contaminated blood. We also had a photo of young Colin Smith who was a seven-year-old victim.
‘I was really happy with the turnout. A good number of protesters turned up.’
In the debate, health minister Jane Ellison said the government predicts that over the lifetime of the schemes more than £1bn of support will have been given to victims from the Department of Health budget.
She added that assessments for payments under the new proposals would be ‘simple’ and would monitor patients’ deterioration.
Asked directly if she could confirm whether there would be ‘losers’ under the new scheme, she said: ‘I’m not going to be able to give you that clarity today but there’s a very specific reason for that.’
Jackie said: ‘The response by Jane Ellison was very disappointing and a few protesters walked out in disgust after five minutes.’
Jackie contracted hepatitis C when she had a transfusion 32 years ago, during childbirth. She was diagnosed in June 2011.
As reported, she receives an annual payment from the government as well as free prescriptions and other discretionary payments.
But the reforms could see this change.
Jackie added: ‘The annual payment will be increased slightly but will remain fixed whereas at the moment it changes with the cost of living. We will have to pay for prescriptions and payments like winter fuel allowance will not be available.
‘That is £500 I receive that I now won’t be getting. I am missing out on hundreds of pounds.’
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes was supporting Jackie. She said: ‘This is a really important issue, and it’s right that we are debating it in Parliament.
‘I have taken up Jackie’s case with ministers, who have assured me the government will take proper account of the concerns she and other victims have raised.’