Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has announced an increase in support payments to those affected by the infected blood scandal, which saw patients infected with hepatitis C and HIV after receiving infected blood through the NHS prior to 1991.
Annual payments will now range from £18,745 to just under £45,000, with the payment amount dependent on diagnosis. The announcement follows the announcement earlier this year of increased one-off payments, which the new change makes permanent.
The new payment scheme will bring Northern Ireland in line with England, where payments were significantly increased in April 2019.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I am delighted to be able to announce this significant uplift in rates and I hope that this financial support will go some way to mitigate the harms and afford the best means to live as normal a life as possible.”
Rachel Halford, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “Those who have been affected by the infected blood scandal went through an appalling experience. We welcome the announcement of an increase in support payments to those affected in Northern Ireland. While no amount of money can make up for what they have been through, this increase will be welcomed by victims.
“We continue to believe that UK governments should work together to agree a UK-wide payment scheme that provides proper support to those who have been affected on a consistent basis. We look forward to the resumption of the Infected Blood Inquiry later this month so that the victims of this terrible scandal can get the answers they deserve.”
If you have any concerns around hepatitis C and contaminated blood, our confidential helpline is open Monday-Friday from 10.30am-4.30pm and is staffed solely by people who have themselves been affected by hepatitis C. You can call the helpline on 020 7089 6221. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com.