Infected blood scandal victim from Fareham says inquiry's ruling they should receive at least £100,000 has taken 'far too long'

A VICTIM of the infected blood scandal has said that an inquiry’s ruling that all victims should receive at least £100,000 compensation has taken ‘far too long.’

Friday, 29th July 2022, 6:18 pm
Updated Friday, 29th July 2022, 6:24 pm

The Infected Blood Inquiry has been examining how thousands of patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

Today the chairman of the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, has recommended victims of the scandal and bereaved partners each be paid interim compensation payments of no less than £100,000 ‘without delay’.

Jackie Britton, from Fareham, had a blood transfusion in 1983 following the birth of her first child – but did not discover she had been given infected blood until 2011.

Jackie Britton, aged 59, who lives in Fareham, had a blood transfusion in 1983 following the birth of her first child - and discovered almost 30 years later that she had been given infected blood.

Jackie has followed the campaign closely, creating support groups for other victims. She said: ‘It’s been far too to get to this stage. More than 400 people have died since this inquiry started – they haven’t lived to see this and we don’t know how many more will die before this is agreed by the government.

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‘It’s been over 3,000 who have died in total, so far. the numbers beggar belief. And there are more added to that every week.

‘For the bereaved partners too, some who have been in desperate straits, maybe even losing their homes, I hope if it goes through, it gives them some financial respite.’

The 59-year-old was in London every day this week for the hearings, and admitted it was ‘difficult’ to watch. More than 7,000 people had contacted the inquiry to give their testimony.

After being diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV), Jackie has undergone several rounds of treatment to clear the virus, but she has been left with cirrhosis and pernicious anaemia.

‘You go from six-month scan to six-month scan to see if you’ve got cancer,’ she added.

Speaking at the end of Friday’s inquiry hearing, chairman of the inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff made it clear his recommendation did not have to be accepted by the government but added his report on interim payments was ‘not the end of the inquiry’s work, and the question of compensation’.

He added: ‘I recommend that: (1) An interim payment should be paid, without delay, to all those infected and all bereaved partners currently registered on UK infected blood support schemes, and those who register between now and the inception of any future scheme; (2) The amount should be no less than £100,000, as recommended by Sir Robert Francis QC.’

Des Collins, senior partner at Collins Solicitors, who represents families and those affected by the scandal said the report was a ‘welcome development’ but compensation had been ‘due for decades’.

‘These immediate interim payments for some of the most vulnerable will, at last, provide some financial compensation that many of those suffering have been due for decades,’ he said.

‘Whilst coming too late for the thousands who have tragically passed away over the intervening years since they were infected, it is a welcome development for some of those still living with the dreadful repercussions of this avoidable treatment failure.

‘We look forward to the day when all victims of this scandal are properly compensated for their suffering and for those whose decisions led to the ruining of countless innocent lives being held to account.’