Increase in financial support for patients given infected blood

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Improved financial support is to be given to people who contracted chronic hepatitis as a result of receiving infected blood from the NHS.

Victims were given blood products contaminated with hepatitis viruses and HIV in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Penrose Inquiry was established to look into the scandal and found people in Scotland received transfusions of blood or blood components from donors who were hepatitis C (HCV) positive in the period before the introduction of screening for the virus.

The inquiry recommended the Scottish Government take all reasonable steps to offer an HCV test to everyone in Scotland who had a blood transfusion before September 1991 and who had not been tested for HCV.

The Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme provides compensation to people who were given infected blood and also their partners who being impacted.

A copy of the Penrose Inquiry
The Penrose Report, which examined the circumstances in which people were given contaminated blood, was published in 2015 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

While £1,000 per year will be paid to those who have self-assessed that HCV does not have a noticeable day-to-day impact on their life.

Widows, widowers, civil partners or other long-term partners of deceased beneficiaries who had chronic HCV will receive annual payments at 75% of the level above.

Payment of £14,175 per year will be given to those who have self-assessed that their spouse or partner was severely affected by HCV, and £4,725 per year will go to those who have self-assessed that their spouse or partner was moderately affected.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “The Scottish Government has been committed for many years to properly address the historic issue of infected NHS blood. That is why we were the first nation in the UK to order a full independent inquiry.

“Following an improved support package announced after the Penrose Inquiry, we will have provided nearly £30 million in support over the three years from 2016-17 to 2018-19. However, we have acknowledged the findings of the recent clinical review, which considered the health impacts of chronic hepatitis C.

“In light of this we have taken the decision to further increase the level of support available. This package of significant additional support, which is greater than that available elsewhere in the UK, demonstrates our continued commitment to those who have been infected, and their loved ones.

“This will particularly provide significant additional funds for those Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme beneficiaries who have self-assessed that their lives are severely affected by hepatitis c, along with the widows, widowers or partners of those who had chronic hepatitis c who have sadly died.”

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