Scottish Government accepts reforms to contaminated blood financial support

The Scottish Government has today announced that it is accepting all of the key financial recommendations made by the Financial Review Group, which was established following the Penrose Inquiry in order to assess financial support arrangements for people affected by the contaminated blood disaster. The Group, which was composed of a range of individuals and organisations such as Haemophilia Scotland and The Hepatitis C Trust, submitted its proposals (which can be read here) to the Scottish Government in December 2015, with the aim of ensuring that the financial support system was both responsive to the needs of those affected and reflective of the magnitude of the disaster.

The proposals that the Scottish Government have accepted include:

  • Increasing annual payments to £27,000 for those with advanced hepatitis C (at Stage 2) or HIV and increasing them to £37,000 for those co-infected with both hepatitis C and HIV.
  • Providing annual payments to widows and widowers of those who have died as a result of their advanced (Stage 2) hepatitis C or HIV infection. These payments will be 75% of the amount the infected person would be entitled to under the new arrangements if they were alive.
  • Providing an additional lump sum of £30,000 to all those who are infected with chronic hepatitis C at Stage 1. This will bring the total lump sum all those infected in Scotland have received to at least £50,000, given that those with chronic infection already receive £20,000. 
  • Increasing Scottish Government funding for a Support and Assistance grants scheme for those infected and their families to £1 million per year.

The Scottish Government has also accepted the proposal, which The Hepatitis C Trust spoke strongly in favour of, to establish an evidence-based review into the broader health impacts of hepatitis C, in order to ascertain whether new criteria should be established.

Petra Wright, Scottish Officer at The Hepatitis C Trust and member of the Financial Review Group, warmly welcomed the Scottish Government's announcement:

"Today's announcement represents the next chapter in the efforts to ensure that those affected by the contaminated blood disaster receive the support that they so deserve. It is impossible to undo the tragedy that befell those infected with hepatitis C and HIV via NHS infected blood, but I hope that the reformed financial support system will at least help to mitigate some of the impact felt by victims and their families. We particularly welcome the Scottish Government's acceptance of the proposal to establish a review into the wider health impact of hepatitis C; this shows an acceptance that hepatitis C does not just affect the liver, and that it can impact upon people in so many different ways. The Hepatitis C Trust is committed to continuing its work on this issue, and in ensuring the best possible outcome for those infected with hepatitis C by the NHS."

The Scottish Government's announcement can be read in full here.