More interim payments to be made to people hit by infected blood scandal

More people affected by the contaminated blood scandal are expected to receive interim compensation payments.

Tens of thousands of people were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through infected blood and blood products in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, in what has been dubbed the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

The Infected Blood Inquiry, which is due to publish its final report on May 20, made its final recommendations on compensation for victims and their loved ones in April 2023.

Some people have already received interim payments of £100,000 but Sir Brian Langstaff, chairman of the inquiry, said at the time that a number have gone “unrecognised” – including parents who lost children and children orphaned when their parents died – as he called for the interim scheme to be extended.

Now Government officials have confirmed that interim payments will also be paid to the “estates of the deceased infected people who were registered with existing or former support schemes”.

The first interim payments were only available to infected people and bereaved partners.

The latest development means that a number of people who have not previously received an interim payment will become eligible.

Specific groups have not been named in the update from Government, such as the children of those infected, but they may receive money from the interim payment to the estate of the person who has died.

Families who have already received interim payments will not be eligible.

Tony Farrugia, whose haemophiliac father died in 1986 after being infected with HIV and hepatitis through contaminated blood products, met with Cabinet Office Minister John Glen to discuss compensation on Wednesday.

Mr Farrugia, who runs the group Fatherless Generation, told the PA news agency: “It seems like the Government have now pricked their ears up and they are starting to listen to us. That’s all we have ever wanted.

“I met John Glen on behalf of the Fatherless Generation – a group I run which supports bereaved children – I think it is very clear from what he said to me today that the Government are listening to Sir Brian’s recommendations.

“As far as children go, he said that either on May 20 or soon after, children would be able to register with a skeleton (compensation) arms-length body.”

He added: “My father died in 1986 and until today we have been completely ignored, despite me attending several other meetings in the past, as a representative of the Fatherless Generation, but unfortunately whenever the schemes have been tweaked, they have never included children.”

Jason Evans, director of the Factor 8 campaign group, said: “Whilst we welcome affected people, including children, having compensation claims in their own right, this is all taking far too long.

“People should have been able to make these claims last year, as the inquiry recommended, but instead we’re still standing around talking about it.

“There just hasn’t been the political will from the Government to get this done until now but it appears the weight of the Infected Blood Inquiry’s final report findings due imminently is forcing their hand.

“Those who lost their parents to this scandal deserve fair compensation for their significant suffering and losses, as do the parents whose children died. It has been extremely cruel to have kept people in such uncertainty until now.”

On Tuesday, ministers agreed to a three-month deadline to establish a full compensation scheme for victims of the infected blood scandal but warned it could be “unavoidably” delayed if Parliament was not sitting – which will occur during recess and when a general election is called.

Officials confirmed that the UK-wide compensation body, which will be arms-length of Government, will be called the Infected Blood Compensation Authority.

The process of recruiting a chair for the authority has begun.

Once established, people living with chronic infections will be “prioritised” by the compensation scheme.