Nervous wait as Government expected to announce compensation scheme for contaminated blood
- Credit: ARCHANT
A St Neots man says is waiting nervously to find out if the Government will set up an independent review to examine proposals for a compensation scheme for those whose lives were destroyed by the contaminated blood scandal.
An article in today's Sunday Times has suggested that billions of pounds will be awarded to the victims of what has been described as "the worst treatment disaster in NHS history". According to the Sunday Times, the move could be announced early next week.
During the 1970s and 80s thousands of NHS patients were infected with life-changing, chronic diseases, including HIV and Hepatitis, after receiving donated blood and blood plasma products. Most of those infected suffered from a genetic bleeding disorder called haemophilia, which results in the blood not clotting properly.
What none of the recipients knew, was that much of this imported blood originated from prisoners, alcoholics, sex workers and people living on the streets who had been paid for their donations. Some of the donors were carrying diseases and infections, and as there were no screening programmes available at this time, Hepatitis and HIV was passed on to thousands of patients undergoing routine treatments.
One of those people infected was Barry Farrugia. He died in September 1986, at the age of 37, from the related causes of the HIV virus He was given Factor 8 concentrate from imported blood products to treat his mild haemophilia.
His son Tony, who lives in St Neots, has been campaigning for more than 10 years for the truth and for justice for his father. The Hunts Post asked Tony how he felt about the news after so many years for false hope and suspected cover-ups.
"The whole community is nervous and all we can do it wait for the official announcement and we need to read the small print. Whatever they do, they need to do it now and not wait till the end of the public inquiry. We estimate that one person is dying every four days and there is so much hardship. Not everyone is entitled to compensation and some people lose their homes if a family member dies.
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"Children who lost parents and parents who lost children are not included in any of the current schemes, but we are victims as well.
Tony was interviewed as part of our We Need To Talk...Contaminated Blood podcast. You can listen to the full interview at: : www.podfollow.com/need-to-talk.
He told us his father's illness ripped the family apart. He and his twin brother were placed in separate care homes at the age of 14 and only saw each other intermittently.
Jason Evans, whose father also died after being given contaminated blood products, set up the Factor 8 campaign group. He has told The Hunts Post he hope the reports in the Sunday Times signals the "beginning of the end in the fight for recompense".
"We will continue to work with our legal team at Collins Solicitors and the Infected Blood Inquiry and look forward to a further statement from the Government."
Decades of campaigning by victims and their families reveals a deeply appalling episode in our history. And while the figures are truly shocking, the personal stories behind the statistics are even more disturbing and heart-breaking. Much of this has come to light during the Infected Blood Inquiry, which is currently taking place at the High Court.
After years of pain-staking research, Jason Evans approached Collins Solicitors and in early July, 2017, a group legal action was filed with the High Court. Just a week later, in a seemingly bizarre turn of events, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced there would be a public inquiry, describing the infected blood scandal as an 'appalling tragedy which should simply never have happened”.
Collins put the legal action on hold and are now representing more than 1400 core participants at the Infected Blood Inquiry. The inquiry, which is being chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff, is tasked with establishing the facts and has no power to determine liability. Sir Brian has, however, already put on record his thoughts about the "relentless hardship" faced by those affected and called for the Government to rectify this. He has also indicated that he expects to make robust recommendations when the inquiry concludes next year.