Home > Infected Blood Scandal – Compensation Framework

In March 2021, the government announced that it is committed to considering a framework to compensate victims of the Infected Blood Tragedy. The Paymaster General’s announcement also contained a number of proposed changes to the existing financial support schemes in the devolved nations, “to bring them into broader parity”.

On 20 May 2021, the government announced that Sir Robert Francis QC had been appointed to “carry out a study which will look at options for a framework for compensation, and to report back to the Paymaster General with recommendations, before the independent Infected Blood Inquiry reports”. In a small victory for infected and affected persons, the government also announced that the terms of reference of Sir Robert’s study will be finalised following consultation with them.

In his oral evidence to the Inquiry on 21 May 2021, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, pledged to pay compensation (should the Inquiry recommend it) and accepted that the government had a “moral responsibility” to address what happened.

These developments are the latest and the most significant step towards making reparations to the recipients of blood products contaminated with Hepatitis C and HIV viruses from NHS treatment. The government has, since 1987, set up a series of support schemes offering ex-gratia payments without any admission of liability.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of people have become severely ill following a transfusion with infected blood or infected blood products. These include children with sepsis, victims of road traffic accidents and people with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders. The Inquiry is investigating whether many of these people were treated, tested or subjected to research without their informed consent or knowledge. The investigations are ongoing, and the Inquiry is expected to sit until 2022.

David Lock QC and Hannah Gibbs of Landmark Chambers, instructed by Emma Jones of Leigh Day, represent 300+ victims of the Infected Blood scandal in the ongoing public inquiry.

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