Infected blood scandal victims 'could receive more than £2m compensation'

21 May 2024, 22:07 | Updated: 22 May 2024, 01:55

People infected with deadly viruses due to the tainted blood scandal could receive more than £2m in compensation, according to government documents.

"Illustrative figures" have been published on the Infected Blood Compensation Authority section of the government website, which show "the compensation award that an infected person living with a single infection or co-infection may expect to receive".

The documents say that people living with HIV as a result of the scandal could receive between £2.2m and £2.6m.

Payments for those with hepatitis vary from £35,500 for an "acute" infection up to £1,557,000 for the most severe illnesses caused by the virus, according to the figures.

People with both viruses could be paid up to £2.7m, according to the tables.

More than 30,000 people were infected with deadly viruses between the 1970s and early 1990s through blood transfusions or blood products while receiving NHS care.

The report from the Infected Blood Inquiry, published on Monday, found the scandal, which has so far claimed the lives of around 3,000 people, "could largely have been avoided" and there was a "pervasive" cover-up to hide the truth.

The illustrative figures were published as the government set out more details of the compensation scheme, although they are not the final numbers.

Cabinet Office minister John Glen said he recognised that "time is of the essence" as he confirmed that the first full compensation payments to victims will be made before the end of the year.

In the meantime, some victims will receive a £210,000 interim payment before the end of the summer, he said.

Mr Glen also announced that family members of those infected would also be eligible for compensation.

The illustrative figures also show how much family members may expect to receive.

They suggest the partner of someone infected with HIV who is still alive today could receive around £110,000, while a child could get £55,000, and siblings could receive £30,000.

He told MPs: "Those who have been infected or affected as a result of this scandal will receive compensation.

"When a person with an eligible infection has been accepted on to the scheme, their affected loved ones will be able to apply for compensation in their own right.

"That means partners, parents, siblings, children, friends and family who have acted as carers of those who are infected are all eligible to claim.

"Our expectation is that final payments will start before the end of the year."

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He confirmed that anyone already registered with one of the existing support schemes will automatically be considered eligible for compensation.

Mr Glen said there will be five categories under which compensation will be awarded - injury, social impact, autonomy, care and financial loss - and multiple awards will be provided where applicable.

The illustrative tables calculate the possible payouts based "across all categories of award".

Jason Evans, director of the Factor 8 campaign group, called for more clarity on the scheme, adding: "Taken together, the government's announcement today creates fresh disparity. Some estates may have received £310,000 in total interim payments by the summer, while most may have received nothing."

Richard Angell, chief executive at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "The priority now must be ensuring that everyone who is entitled to compensation gets it and gets it quick."