Justice delayed for Dagenham killer blood victim
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Families whose lives have been torn apart by a health scandal have called on the government to deliver on its pre-election promise to make amends for decades of suffering.
Angela Farrugia lost three brothers, including gas technician Barry Farrugia, of Whitebarn Lane, Dagenham, after they were infected with diseases from contaminated blood given by the NHS until 1991. Barry suffered a horrific death from Aids in 1986, aged just 37.
He was one of 7,500 with the blood disorder haemophilia in the UK who contracted HIV or hepatitis C (hep C) from blood products taken from high risk donors, such as drug addicts and prisoners.
In March this year the prime minister apologised on behalf of the government and promised to release £25m financial support for victims immediately, and to increase that after the general election in May.
But the £25million has not been forthcoming and blood scandal campaigners say the timetable has “slipped drastically” – with a final settlement proposal now unlikely before next April.
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Angela, who has fought for justice for her brothers’ children, said: “I feel frustrated that David Cameron seems to be dragging his feet over a settlement.
“I have heard that victims’ children will not be included, only widows. I feel this is so unfair for my nieces and nephews who have had their fathers taken from them prematurely because of a major mistake by the medical profession.”
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Campaign groups say they are frustrated that settlement negotiations are still at early stages. They also fear some key groups, such as children of those who have died, may be left out if any future settlement follows draft proposals already laid out in Scotland.
Joseph Peaty, co-chair of campaign group Tainted Blood, said: “It’s astonishing and outrageous really that this isn’t in the pipeline and ready to go when the government knew they had to do this.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “Reforming the current payment schemes for those affected remains a priority – we are absolutely determined to get this right.”