'I cannot overstate the amount of trauma': Infected blood scandal victim advocates for justice and compensation

5 December 2023, 10:29

Nick Ferrari is joined by infected blood scandal victim Andrew Evans

Madeleine Wilson

By Madeleine Wilson

After the government agreed to victim payouts, Andrew Evans, a survivor of the infected blood scandal, revealed the emotional toll of the condition.

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The government faced a defeat over an amendment to extend interim payouts to more victims of the infected blood scandal.

At least 30 Tory MPs back the adjustment, with backbenchers set to join forces with Labour on payouts over the scandal.

Andrew told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast how he was infected with HIV and Hepatitis C when he was five years old in 1983 as a result of the scandal, adding that it has been "all-encompassing" throughout his life.

He said: "I developed AIDS at the age of 18 and spent most of my former two years in hospital when I came out of the hospital my place in the world was difficult to find.

"My peers had moved on without me, those formative years were lost and so I dedicated myself to trying to find truth and justice about the scandal."

Labour's shadow minister for victims and sentencing Kevin Brennan has also tabled an amendment that would require the government to respond to the final report of the independent Infected Blood Inquiry within 25 days.

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves commented: "This is not a party political issue...All of us have a responsibility to act now to address this historic wrong."

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer indicated on Monday that ministers are unlikely to shift positions, insisting that it was "appropriate" to wait until the ongoing inquiry has concluded.

Read more: 'The family imploded': Son of haemophiliac tells Andrew Marr how infected blood scandal tore his family apart

Andrew set up the campaign group, Tainted Blood in 2006 and since then has been calling for a public inquiry, a full apology, and compensation for all victims and their families.

Speaking about his emotional health, he told Nick: "I cannot overstate the amount of trauma that it has caused over my lifetime.

"I'm currently on very high doses of anti-depressants, that's mainly the cause of Hepatitis C treatment that I had to go through about a decade ago which altered my brain chemistry but in addition to that the stresses and strains of lifelong medications and the illnesses that come along with it."

An independent inquiry into the scandal was due to publish its final report this autumn but the document will now be published in March 2024 due to the "sheer volume and scale of the material".

Under an initial scheme, only victims themselves or bereaved partners can receive an interim payment of around £100,000.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will decide which amendments MPs will vote on later.

Read more: Perhaps the government will apologise once the Infected Blood Inquiry report is published, dare we hold our breath?

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