Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the UK Government’s announcement that those infected and / or affected by contaminated blood will receive interim payments of £100,000.
The interim payments will be paid to Northern Ireland beneficiaries of the Infected Blood Payment Scheme, which will include people who became infected with Hepatitis C or HIV as a result of NHS-supplied contaminated blood, as well as bereaved spouses and partners registered on the Scheme.
The Health Minister said: “The use of contaminated blood and blood products in the 1970s and 1980s was a tragedy for everyone involved and I am very aware of the financial hardships and suffering endured since then. In my time as Health Minister, I have met with a number of people who have been either directly infected or affected by contaminated blood and have heard first-hand the devastating impact it has on their lives.
“Today’s confirmation on interim payments is to be welcomed and my Department has been working with counterparts in Westminster to ensure that the payments will be made at pace.”
The interim payments confirmed today follow the recommendation made by Independent Public Inquiry chair, Sir Brian Langstaff QC last month following oral evidence from Sir Robert Francis QC.
Notes to editors:
1. The compensation payments are separate from the ex-gratia payments provided on the NI Infected Blood Payment Scheme. It is also the intention that payments will be tax-free and will not affect any financial benefits support an individual is receiving. The HSC Trust should also apply a full disregard in respect of the financial assessment process in the provision of personal social services in residential or nursing home accommodation.
2. Sir Brian Langstaff QC‘s interim and recommendation follows an independent study on compensation led by Sir Robert Francis QC. The interim report is available on the inquiry website, as is the Independent report on Compensation and redress for the victims of infected blood, available on the .gov.uk website.
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