Infected blood inquiry demands compensation payments extended to parents and children of victims

5 April 2023, 12:53 | Updated: 5 April 2023, 13:20

Inquiry chairman Sir Brian Wagstaff calls for compensation for tainted blood scandal victims to be extended
Inquiry chairman Sir Brian Wagstaff calls for compensation for tainted blood scandal victims to be extended. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Parents and children of victims of the infected blood scandal which is the "biggest treatment disaster in the NHS" should be entitled to compensation, the chairman of the inquiry has said.

It has been estimated that thousands of people were infected with HIV and hepatitis by contaminated blood between 1970 and 1991.

In July last year, the inquiry recommended that victims of the contaminated blood scandal should receive interim compensation of £100,000.

But inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff, a former High Court judge, said that some family members - including parents who lost children and children orphaned when their parents died - remain "unrecognised" when it comes to compensation.

Infected blood
Infected blood. Picture: social media

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell arrested by detectives investigating SNP finances

Read more: Melania missing in action: Donald Trump’s wife raises eyebrows with absence as ex-president condemns US justice

He has recommended that the Government should make further interim compensation payments to those affected by the scandal.

Sir Brian said that he was taking the unusual step of publishing the recommendation ahead of the publication of the full report into the scandal so that victims would not face any more delays.

"I could not in conscience add to the decades-long delays many of you have already experienced due to failures to recognise the depth of your losses," he said in his statement.

He said that "wrongs were done at individual, collective and systemic levels".

Sir Brian said that "not only do the infections themselves and their consequences merit compensation, but so too do the wrongs done by authority, whose response served to compound people's suffering".

He said: "This has been described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, and we have much to learn as a nation to help ensure that people never suffer in a similar way again. I will be setting that out in my full report."

On further compensation payments, he added: "I am also recommending further interim compensation payments to recognise the deaths of people who have so far gone unrecognised, as I believe this is necessary to alleviate immediate suffering.

"It is a fact that around 380 children with bleeding disorders were infected with HIV. Some of them died in childhood.

"But their parents have never received compensation.

"Children who were orphaned as a result of infections transmitted by blood transfusions and blood products have never had their losses recognised."

In October 2022, the Government said thousands of victims of the infected blood scandal would receive interim compensation payments of £100,000 - and it has already made interim payments of around £400 million to people infected and to bereaved partners.

The inquiry's second interim report on compensation made a series of recommendations including a "bespoke" psychological support service in England for victims and their loved ones, and a redress scheme to be "set up now" and run by an arm's-length body independent of Government.

The inquiry team was not able to put a figure on how many more people or their families could be eligible for compensation.

Kate Burt, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: "After decades of delay and denial by successive governments, today's report has exposed the unparalleled scale of suffering and loss endured as a result of the contaminated blood scandal.

"The case for swift and meaningful compensation is now beyond doubt and we welcome the recommendation that everyone, including bereaved parents and children, should receive compensation as soon as possible.

"This report highlights the huge psychosocial harm caused by government's repeated failure to acknowledge wrongdoing.

"Too much time has been wasted by politicians intent on denying the consequences of this NHS disaster.

"Now Government must atone for its shameful avoidance of this scandal and pay compensation to all those whose lives have been devastated.

"Money cannot compensate for a lost future, the death of a child, a parent, a partner, or a sibling. Nor can it resurrect careers, marriages and shattered mental and physical health. But compensation is the first step towards the Government accepting blame, acknowledging loss and, crucially, an apology which explains what went wrong."

Rachel Halford, chief executive of the Hepatitis C Trust, added: "This is a clear call to action for the Government, which lays out the strong moral case for them to accept and compensate for the harm done to everyone affected by the contaminated blood scandal."

Des Collins, senior partner at Collins Solicitors, which is representing more than 1,500 victims at the inquiry, said: "Sir Brian has listened to those calling for the Government to set the wheels in motion now, so there is no further delay for victims who can begin to receive appropriate recompense prior to publication of his final report.

"In essence, Sir Brian's useful interim report is a vital intervention that should help to remove any excuse the Government may wish to find to delay righting the wrongs of the largest treatment disaster in NHS history."

The inquiry was established in 2017 to examine how thousands of patients in the UK were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

About 2,400 people died in what has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Thousands of adults and approximately 380 children received infected blood products or transfusions during treatment by the NHS, the inquiry has heard.

Many had the blood-clotting disorder haemophilia and were given injections of the US product Factor VIII.

The inquiry has been gathering evidence and holding hearings for four and a half years.

The last day of hearings took place on February 3 and it is expected that the final report will be published in the autumn.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A cordon has been put up across Keyham in Plymouth after a WW2-era bomb was found

More than 1,000 evacuated after WW2-era bomb discovered at Plymouth home during garden building work

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, left, talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as he arrives for a delegation level meeting in New Delhi (Manish Swarup/AP)

Greek PM asks India to build global ties amid wars in Ukraine and Middle East

Indian farmers who have been protesting for a week to demand guaranteed crop prices wait to march to New Delhi (Altaf Qadri/AP)

Man dies as clashes erupt between police and protesting farmers in India

Polish farmers drive tractors in a convoy in Minsk Mazowiecki, Poland as they intensify a nationwide protest against the import of Ukrainian foods and European Union environmental policies (Czarek Sok

Poland concerned by pro-Putin slogans at farmers’ protests

Russian prison bosses at the Arctic penal colony where Alexei Navalny was "detained and killed" have been banned from the UK and had their assets frozen

Russian bosses of Arctic penal colony where Alexei Navalny was 'detained and killed' sanctioned by British government

Rishi Sunak would not repeat Ms Badenoch's claims when asked at PMQs.

Rishi Sunak refuses to repeat Kemi Badenoch's claim ex-Post Office boss ‘lied’ about delaying compensation

ChatGPT began speaking in Spanglish for some users

'It's gone crazy': ChatGPT users share AI's bizarre 'Spanglish' replies as tech firm admits 'unexpected responses'

Maxim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine, appears in a video released by Ukraine's Defense Intelligence agency in September 2023.

Russian defector gunned down in Spain 'contacted his ex' as body found riddled with bullets in underground car park

France Eiffel Tower

Striking workers close down Eiffel Tower for third day ahead of Paris Olympics

Richard and Debbie Nuttall have been named as the winners of £61 million

Lucky Brit couple win £61m Euromillions jackpot while on 30th anniversary holiday in Canary Islands

People clean debris after a reported Israeli attack on Syria (Omar Sanadiki/AP)

Two dead after Israeli missiles ‘hit residential area’ in Syria

People look down at a protest in Madrid, Spain as hundreds of farmers drove their tractors into the capital as part of ongoing protests against European Union and local farming policies (Manu Fernande

Thousands of farmers descend on Madrid for tractor protest over EU policies

Ewen MacIntosh has died aged 50

Actor Ewen MacIntosh who played Keith in The Office ‘suffered ill health for two years’ before his death aged 50

Anemone wildflowers bloom in Re’im, southern Israel, at the site of a cross-border attack by Hamas on the Nova music festival where hundreds of people were killed and kidnapped into the Gaza Strip (Ma

Rape and sexual assault took place during Hamas attack, Israeli association says

A police van carrying five Israelis accused of raping the British woman arrives at the Famagusta District Courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus yesterday

British woman ‘dragged into hotel and gang-raped’ at Ayia Napa hotel enters court to begin testimony

A pig's head has been hurled into a Muslim family's home

Pig's head hurled into Muslim family's home in Blackburn as police investigate hate crime