Contaminated blood scandal victims to receive more compensation as public inquiry begins
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 April 2019
Victims of the contaminated blood scandal in England will receive more money, the government said, as a public inquiry begins.
Thousands of haemophiliacs and other hospital patients in the 1970s and 1980s were given blood products infected with hepatitis C and HIV, with about 2,400 people left dead.
Dagenham resident Barry Farrugia died aged 37 in 1986 after he was infected with HIV via blood factor products used to treat mild haemophilia.
Two of his brothers were also lost to the scandal, including Victor Farrugia of East Ham, who died aged 63 in 2002 after being diagnosed with cancer.
The government has announced extra money would go to thousands of people affected by the medical catastrophe in England.
“This will see regular annual payments for some of those infected substantially increase, from a total of £46 million to £75 million,” the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
More bereaved partners of victims will also be eligible for support.
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Prime minister Theresa May said: “The contaminated blood scandal was a tragedy that should never have happened and has caused unimaginable pain and hurt for victims and their families for decades.
“I know this will be a difficult time for victims and their families - but today will begin a journey which will be dedicated to getting to the truth of what happened and in delivering justice to everyone involved.”
Infected blood support schemes were set up in 2017 - with country-specific programmes in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
The DHSC said the funding increase “follows extensive consultation with those affected and a recognition of the disparities that have existed across the schemes.”
Barry Farrugia's son Tony last year demanded that the government provide a full compensation scheme for those affected by the scandal.
• READ MORE: 'Contaminated blood ruined my family, we want a proper compensation scheme'
The Infected Blood Inquiry will be hearing from victims in Fleetbank House, central London, before similar testimonies take place over the coming months in Belfast, Leeds, Edinburgh and Cardiff.
The inquiry is chaired by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff.
“As I promised at the outset, people and their experiences are at the heart of this inquiry, and that the inquiry is honouring its undertaking to hear directly in major centres around the whole of the UK from those infected by blood or blood products, and those who have been affected by this,” he said.
“I have little doubt that their testimony will not only be poignant but also a powerful tool in helping to get to the truth of what happened.”