Today, MPs Jeremy Quin and Shona Dunn presented evidence to the Infected Blood Inquiry.
Paymaster General Jeremy Quin reaffirmed at the evidence session that the Government will wait until after the Inquiry’s final report in the autumn before announcing its compensation plan.
This is despite Inquiry Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, recommending in his second interim report that the Government should set up its compensation scheme “without delay”. The second interim report was published in April 2023.
When Mr Quin was asked whether the Government understood that time is of the essence, he responded: “I absolutely believe it does. And I absolutely get it.
“It’s a scandal that shouldn’t have happened and I recognise that this is not just over weeks or months. It’s been decades which people have been waiting for redress.”
Asked if the Government will pay interim compensation to bereaved parents and children – which was also recommended in the second interim report – Mr Quin said “no final decision” had been made but “a lot of work” needed to be done to finalise the Government’s views on compensation.
The second witness of the day was Shona Dunn, Second Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Care.
She said that the work of its team investigating the scale and cost of implementing a compensation scheme is “evolving” but did not elaborate on the details of the work being done.
Senior politicians will be giving evidence to the Infected Blood Inquiry all this week, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Rachel Halford, CEO of The Hepatitis C Trust wrote to Mr Sunak calling for the immediate implementation of a full compensation scheme and to encourage people who may be at risk to come forward for testing.
She said: “Many of the 2,800 calls to our helpline this year have been related to the Infected Blood Inquiry and the callers have shared with us their disappointment, anger and sadness over the delays. With more than 500 people affected by the scandal estimated to have died since the Inquiry began – in addition to the thousands who had already died – there is no time to waste in delivering compensation to surviving victims and others affected.”