Contaminated blood: Long-awaited consultation launched

Brenda Buzer who had a blood transfusion following a misscarriage in the 1960s and then in 2005 disc

Brenda Buzer who had a blood transfusion following a misscarriage in the 1960s and then in 2005 discovered that she had contracted Hepatitis C, pictured with her husband Stan - Credit: Archant

A long-awaited blueprint outlining payments for the care and support of victims of the contaminated blood scandal has today taken a huge leap forward.

Health minister Jane Ellison MP has launched a 12-week consultation into proposals that will see people whose blood was infected in the 1980s assessed to establish how much they should be given in an annual payment towards care costs.

Alongside the plans to extend the number of people receiving these payouts, proposals to give support to newly bereaved partners and spouses have also been set out alongside access to new treatments for Hepatitis C.

But the consultation does not include compensation payouts, which have been called for by victims and campaigners.

Grandmother-of-five Brenda Buzer, of Kingsley Close, Dagenham, is one of thousands of people who were infected through contaminated blood products supplied by the NHS up until 1991.

A decade ago, Brenda, 81, was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. She is not slowly dying of advanced and irreversible liver cirrhosis.

“I do feel a bit bitter about it because I think to myself, there’s all my family I’ll have to leave,” Brenda told the Post in June last year.

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Her husband Stan added: “Along with other people she’s had a raw deal and she should get something to make whatever time she’s got left easier.”

This latest move comes after the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Italy must pay £7.7million to more than 350 people who contracted deadly viruses, including HIV and hepatitis C, from contaminated blood products.

The court ruled that victims were entitled to compensation because “the causal link between the transfusion of infected blood and their contamination has been proved”.

Government health officials said: “We feel there is a need for a more accessible and equitable system of care and support that focuses on the welfare of infected individuals.

“The Department of Health recognises its responsibility to everyone infected as a result of NHS treatment and wants to tailor the approach accordingly.”

Ms Ellison, MP for Battersea, told her fellow MPs that she realised the consultation, which has seen many delays since it was announced, would come too late for some people.