No more delays’ says blood case campaigner - The Evesham Observer

No more delays’ says blood case campaigner

Evesham Editorial 8th Dec, 2023   0

AN EVESHAM campaigner who has tirelessly highlighted a scandal which saw thousands of people infected with HIV has urged no further delays in delivering compensation for victims.

Andrew Evans spoke out after MPs backed a move to speed up compensation for victims of the NHS infected blood scandal, delivering the Prime Minister his first Commons defeat.

Ministers will now have to set up a body to run the scheme within three months of a new bill becoming law.

The vote was passed by 246 votes to 242 after 22 Conservatives rebelled in Monday’s (December 4) vote including Worcester’s MP Robin Walker.

Mr Evans, chairman of Tainted Blood, a campaign group which represents contaminated blood victims, said the Government had promised a future amendment to buy off Tory MPs, a move which ‘thankfully has failed’.

He said any attempts to reverse the amendment when the bill goes to the Lords ‘would heap yet more misery on those who have already suffered so much for four decades’.

The government has said there is a moral case for compensating victims of the scandal, and has made the first interim payments of £100,000 each to 4,000 surviving victims and bereaved partners.

However, it said it wanted to wait for the infected blood inquiry to conclude before setting up a full scheme.

In an attempt to speed up efforts to compensate victims, Dame Diana Johnson – who leads the All-Party Parliamentary group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood – put forward the amendment.

A public inquiry into the scandal which saw some 5,000 British haemophiliac patients – whose blood cannot clot – infected with HIV, Hepatitis C, or both, began in 2019, chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff.

His report was expected last month but has been reportedly delayed until the spring.

Blood was sourced from prisons in America and not screened correctly.

Victims were given contaminated blood products by the NHS between 1972 and 1985 and around 4,800 people originally infected with Hepatitis C while 1,243 of those were also infected with HIV, the virus which leads to AIDS.

More than 2,000 people have since died. Of the HIV group, only around 250 are still alive, representing an 80 per cent death rate for that group.

Mr Evans established TaintedBlood in 2006 with Gareth Lewis, who passed away as a result of his infections in 2010.


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