Families of victims have praised the news – but their fight for justice is far from over (Picture: PA)
Financial compensation will soon be rolled out to the thousands caught up in the ‘worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS’.
Each victim of the infected blood scandal is due to receive £100,000.
The Government announced the news today but campaigners say there is still a ‘long way to go’ until justice is served.
The scandal resulted in around 2,400 deaths of patients infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.
Sue Threakall, whose husband Bob died in 1991 after contracting HIV from contaminated blood, said finding closure is ‘not just about money.’
She added: ‘It’s about recognition of people whose lives have been destroyed, young adults have grown up their whole life without their parents and they have not been recognised, and parents whose young children died in their arms.
“We’ve always said there will always be families out there who don’t know what they are eligible to claim. ‘
Their lives could have been so much better supported.’
Sue Threakall, widow of Bob Threakall, gives evidence at the inquiry into the scandal (Picture: PA)
Bob died aged 47 in 1991 after contracting HIV from contaminated blood (Picture: PA)
The Government it intends to make compensation payments to those who have been infected, and to bereaved partners in England, by the end of October.
The same payments will be made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today he wanted the money to be paid to victims and their surviving partners.
He said: ‘While nothing can make up for the pain and suffering endured by those affected by this tragic injustice, we are taking action to do right by victims and those who have tragically lost their partners by making sure they receive these interim payments as quickly as possible.
‘I want to personally pay tribute to all those who have so determinedly fought for justice.’
Most of those involved in the infected blood scandal had the blood-clotting disorder haemophilia and relied on regular injections of the US product Factor VIII to survive.
They were unaware they were receiving contaminated Factor VIII from people who were paid to donate, including prisoners and drug addicts.
Mark was infected with contaminated blood while being treated for haemophilia as a child (Picture: PA)
The infected blood scandal resulted in around 2,400 deaths of patients (Picture: Getty Images)
Patients were given the product for years despite repeated warnings at the top of government.
New cases of HIV and hepatitis continued to be diagnosed decades after the first contaminations, resulting in many early deaths.
Mark Fox, 44, who contracted Hepatitis C after being treated with a contaminated blood product for haemophilia as a child, will be among those to receive compensation.
The former cosmetic technician from Seaham in County Durham, said: ‘It’s not about compensation, it’s about someone saying sorry.
‘It’s that they tried to hide it, and so many people tried to brush it under the carpet – if you mucked up, have the balls to accept it. Grow up, be an adult.’
Final recommendations from a public inquiry on compensation for a wider group of people – such as bereaved parents and the children of victims – are expected when the inquiry concludes next year.
Campaigners say this means families affected could lose out on interim payments.
They have called for further talks to ensure the money is paid out swiftly to those who need it most.
Rosemary Calder, whose 25-year-old son Nicky died in 1999 with HIV after being given an infected blood product to treat haemophilia, echoed this sentiment.
The 74-year-old whose family moved from north London to Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire after her son was called ‘Aids boy’ at school, said there is a ‘long way to go’ in the route to justice.
Rosemary Calder, from Northamptonshire, lost her son Nicky (Picture: PA)
He died in 1999 after being given an infected blood product to treat haemophilia (Picture: PA)
She said: ‘So many parents suffered financially because they had to give up work, had to move house because of all the stigma, people lost their jobs – that has never been acknowledged.
‘I think it [the interim compensation] is a step in the right direction but there’s a long way to go.’
An inquiry into the scandal was announced by then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017 and began the following year.
It has taken evidence from more than 5,000 witnesses during hearings across all four nations of the UK and is due to conclude next year.
The inquiry featured harrowing evidence from patients and their families who described being kept in the dark about the risk of HIV infection among haemophiliac patients.
Many were forced to keep their diagnoses private through fear of vilification at the time of the Aids crisis.
Others have since accused the Government of an ‘industrial-scale cover-up’ amid allegations of inappropriate treatment given to patients, tests being done on people without their knowledge, and the results being withheld for several years.
Lauren Palmer, from Bristol, was orphaned after her parents died with HIV within eight days of each other in 1993.
Lauren Palmer, pictured as a baby with her mother Barbara, lost both parents (Picture: PA)
‘Everything from the start was just wrong’ she said in describing the scandal (Picture: PA)
‘This was all so avoidable,’ she said.
‘And then people went to great lengths to conceal the problem and not tell patients how serious it was. Everything from the start was just wrong.’
Charities and campaign groups have now called on a dedicated scheme to ensure compensation reaches people who need it as quickly as possible.
Kate Burt, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: ‘This is a significant development. However, the majority of the bereaved – including parents and the children of those who died – will receive nothing.
‘Steps must be taken now to set up a workable scheme which can deliver full compensation quickly and fairly to all those who suffered devastating loss because of this NHS treatment disaster.’
Meanwhile Factor 8, a non-profit organisation comprised of victims and families, has also piled pressure for a swift rollout of the compensation.
Jason Evans, founder of the group, said: ‘The PM has said today that “we will continue to stand by all those impacted by this horrific tragedy”, but they are doing nothing to help most families.
‘It’s yet another scandal within the scandal.’
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