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Infected blood scandal: ‘Another day of upset’ for victim’s son

(Infected Blood Inquiry/PA)
(Infected Blood Inquiry/PA)

A campaigner whose father died a result of infected blood has claimed he only found out that survivors and bereaved partners will receive interim Government compensation payments through media reports of “an embargoed press release”.

Thousands of survivors of the infected blood scandal will receive interim compensation payments of £100,000, the Government announced on Wednesday.

Bereaved spouses and partners registered on the scheme will also receive the payments.

But the parents and children of victims will not receive compensation as part of Wednesday’s announcement, drawing criticism from campaigners – although future payments have not been ruled out.

The scandal caused an estimated 2,400 deaths of patients infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jason Evans, whose father Jonathan died in 1993, will not receive any compensation as the child of a victim, BBC Breakfast was told.

He said it was a “big step forward for some but for the majority, another day of upset”.

He said: “I think the most important thing is the Government are held to account on that, because I saw the press release that they put out last night and it, in parts, reads very much like they are trying to convince the media and the public that these payments are going to all victims and families, when we know mostly that’s not the case.

“I also think there’s something to be said for the fact that this announcement was done by way of an embargoed press release – why aren’t victims and families finding out about these things first?”

Asked if he found out about the interim compensation through the media rather than direct contact, he added: “Absolutely, and that is the case for all victims and families finding out this news today.”

However, Cabinet Office minister Michael Ellis wrote to Sir Brian Langstaff, chairman of the Infected Blood Inquiry, on Tuesday, informing him the Government would be making the interim payments.

The Cabinet Office has also been providing updates to the House of Commons through Oral Questions and Written Ministerial Statements, it says.

Michelle Tolley was infected with hepatitis C when she received blood transfusions after the birth of her child in 1987, but did not find out until 2015.

She told Sky News: “I would like to pay tribute to all of the victims contaminated by blood transfusion and bloods products who tragically, through no fault of their own, haven’t lived long enough to be here to hear about these interim payments.

“The next step is to include parents who lost their children, children who lost their parents, those whose medical records have been lost and for those infected post-1991.”

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Kit Malthouse said on Tuesday: “Those affected by the infected blood scandal have suffered terribly over many years and that heart-breaking and unimaginable pain has been compounded by the financial uncertainty many have faced.

“Of course, no amount of money will compensate for the turmoil victims and their loved ones have faced, but I hope these payments help to show that we are on their side and will do everything in our power to support them.”