The Sunday Times has reported that Ministers are preparing to accept that there is a “strong moral case” for a taxpayer-funded scheme to compensate those affected by the historic use of Infected Blood.
A Cabinet Office document circulated among ministers says an arm’s-length body will be set up to administer the funds, which could run into hundreds of millions of pounds. This “will be announced within weeks” and would be the first time that the government has recognised the state’s culpability.
Further details will be revealed when the government responds to the ongoing review led by Sir Robert Francis QC, set up last year to examine a possible compensation framework for the those infected and their families. The government has promised to publish its compensation plan before Francis gives evidence to that inquiry in mid-July.
The review is expected to take into account compensation schemes implemented in other countries, including Ireland, where 5,000 people have received more than €1 billion between them. The highest individual payout was €2.69 million (the equivalent of around £2.3m). Francis will present a number of options to the government and the price for each varies, although “no formal request for funds has been made to the Treasury”.
Up to 30,000 NHS patients contracted hepatitis C, HIV and other deadly diseases after receiving contaminated blood-clotting products in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Cabinet Office said: “The government intends to publish the study by Sir Robert in time for the inquiry and its core participants to consider it before Sir Robert gives evidence to the inquiry in July. The government will give full consideration to Sir Robert’s recommendations and evidence to the inquiry.”
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