The UK government has announced its plan to compensate thousands of infected blood victims and their families

The UK government has announced its plan to compensate thousands of infected blood victims and their families. Following the publication of the long-awaited final report of the infected blood inquiry, the paymaster general, John Glen, announced a new infected blood compensation scheme. Some estimates suggest the scheme will top £10 billion.

The scheme will compensate victims directly and indirectly infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV with NHS-supplied blood products or tissue. More than 30,000 people were infected, many of whom have since died. Both infected people and their families may be eligible to apply for compensation under the new scheme.

Interim payments of £210,000 will be made to living infected victims and certain other affected groups within 90 days. This takes account of the fact that not only is such compensation well overdue, but it will take time for the scheme to become fully operational and for assessment of final total compensation to take place. Any interim payments made will be deducted from final awards of compensation.

Teresa May, who opened the initial inquiry as Prime Minister, told the Commons: “Sir Brian Langstaff’s report today has finally uncovered the truth of this appalling tragedy which has affected the lives of so many, and so many have been fighting, as the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition said, for decades to get to this point.

“Sir Brian has highlighted what is a devastating and abject failure of the British state.

“Medical professionals, civil servants, politicians – all of whom felt their job was to protect their own reputation rather than to serve and look after the public who they were there to serve.

Conservative former health secretary Sir Sajid Javid said the infected blood scandal is “the biggest in the history of the NHS” and accused public servants of “putting the reputation of themselves and the NHS above that of patient safety and care”.

He added: “Time and time again ministers have stood at that despatch box, under successive governments, including myself, promising that lessons will be learned. So can I ask (Mr Sunak) why it will be any different this time?”

The scheme will be overseen by an independent arms-length body, the Infected Blood Compensation Authority. The interim chair will be Sir Robert Francis KC, who previously undertook a study on compensation options at the government’s request in 2022.

Nimish Patel, our Head of Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence, has said: “This is an awful scandal which has been passed down successive governments with a reluctance to take responsibility or to be open in relation to what has happened. Even after the initial findings were revealed, it has been a long road to establish this scheme during which time sadly some of those affected have passed away.

As with many of these types of schemes, the devil will be in the detail as to how questions of eligibility, application of tariffs, timing of payments and challenges to awards will be dealt with by the scheme and the red tape is still to be established by the politicians. The paperwork for the scheme will award compensation for the impact of living with the contaminated blood or supporting a victim in the past, together with future care needs and financial loss which will all need to be thoroughly investigated before submitted for the scheme.”

Payments will be calculated using a tariff-based approach, which means that compensation will be assessed based on predetermined criteria and rates. The government says this will avoid intrusive questioning and traumatising victims all over again. The payments will be exempt from income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

The Vaccine Damages Payment Scheme which has been used for those who have suffered side effects of the Covid Vaccine has demonstrated how inflexible a payment scheme threshold can be for individuals to meet when they are required to set out their personal circumstances against criteria set by politicians.

Modelling shows that some victims may be entitled to more than £2 million in compensation, though average awards are likely to be substantially less.

Our expert Clinical Negligence team are fully up to date with matters surrounding the scandal and are on hand for any help and advice you may need at this time. We are available on the phone on 0161 928 3848 or via email if you would like to discuss your circumstances further.


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