Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed confirmation from the UK Government that interim payments will be made by the end of the month to victims of contaminated blood in Northern Ireland.
The interim payments are being paid to Northern Ireland beneficiaries of the Infected Blood Payment Scheme, which includes 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.
Minister Swann said: “Supporting people who have been so let down through the contaminated blood scandal has been hugely important to me and I made it a priority to meet with those who have been either directly infected or affected when I became Health Minister in 2020. Since then, significant improvements have been made in terms of financial support, including the introduction of annual payments to those bereaved as a result of contaminated blood.
“I am acutely aware of the suffering that has been endured as a result of receiving infected blood and have been clear on the need to provide financial support to victims. Confirmation that interim compensation payments are being processed and will be paid within days is to be welcomed and I do hope it should help alleviate some of the financial pressures faced.
These interim compensation payments will build on the support already provided to those infected and bereaved by the NI Infected Blood Payment Scheme. More work is being done to consider the other recommendations made by Sir Robert Francis KC and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland will consider any further recommendations from the Inquiry when it reports next year.”
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland’s Business Services Organisation (BSO) acted as an administrative agent on behalf of the UK Government to process the interim payments.
Acknowledging BSO’s support, Minister Swann said: “I would like to thank BSO for the efficient manner in which they processed these vital payments to victims across the UK on behalf of the UK Government.”
The interim payments were confirmed in August following the recommendation made by Independent Public Inquiry chair, Sir Brian Langstaff KC in an interim report, following oral evidence from Sir Robert Francis KC.
Notes to editors:
- All beneficiaries in Northern Ireland should by now have received a letter from the BSO about the payment and outlining that the money will be in their accounts by the end of October.
- The compensation payments are separate from the ex-gratia payments provided on the NI Infected Blood Payment Scheme. The payments will not affect any financial benefits support an individual is receiving. A full disregard in respect of the financial assessment process in the provision of personal social services in residential or nursing home accommodation will also be applied.
- Sir Brian Langstaff KC‘s interim and recommendation follows an independent study on compensation led by Sir Robert Francis KC. 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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