Following a consultation held over the summer, Sir Robert Francis has set out the proposed Terms of Reference for the study he will lead to assess how compensation should be awarded to people given infected blood. Thousands of people contracted hepatitis C and/or HIV through NHS blood or blood products before these began being screened in the early 1990s.
His proposals have been accepted by Michael Ellis MP, who replaced Penny Mordant as Paymaster General in August. The Paymaster General holds responsibility for both the Infected Blood Inquiry and Compensation Framework Study.
Approximately 600 responses were submitted to the compensation study consultation, including detailed feedback from The Hepatitis C Trust following a series of feedback sessions with people affected. Sir Robert’s recommendations identify the key issues that the study should consider. The terms of reference for the review have now been published in full online here and include the following principles:
To consider the rationale for compensation as a matter of general principle and in relation to any particular classes of compensation (in order to not pre-empt what the inquiry will decide).
To give independent advice to the Government regarding the design of a “workable and fair framework for compensation”, although not whether this should be devolved to the four UK nations.
To consider the scope of eligibility for such compensation, including the appropriateness of conditions such as ‘cut-off’ dates, whether it should be extended beyond individuals and partners; and whether the estate of any individual who has died should be eligible for compensation.
To consider the injuries, loss and detriments that compensation should address, including the infection, treatment, and social, mental health and financial impacts.
The types of award and method of assessment for compensation.
To consider the measures for compensation, looking at other national schemes.
To consider the relationship between a compensation framework and other receipts and payments by individuals.
To consider options for administering the scheme.
Sir Robert also commits to reporting to Government no later than the end of February 2022, giving him just five months to complete the work.
The study is intended to set out how compensation will be paid if it is recommended by the UK Infected Blood Inquiry, but not how much compensation should be paid to people.
Rachel Halford, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “We welcome the Government’s acceptance of all of Sir Robert Francis’ recommended terms of reference. People who were given infected blood or blood products, their friends, families and loved ones, have suffered enormous harm and decades of delay and injustice. This is an important step in addressing this.
“We are glad to see such widespread engagement with the process, and look forward to working with Sir Robert in the coming months.”
Read the full government statement here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-09-23/hcws305
If you are affected by contaminated blood or require further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to call The Hepatitis C Trust’s confidential helpline on 020 7089 6221 or by e-mail. Everyone on the helpline has had hepatitis C themselves and can provide a wide range of information on all aspects of living with or being affected by hepatitis C. We can also provide support with making claims to the various current support schemes, and on feeding into Sir Robert’s framework study.