Factor 8 statement on Government announcement re infected blood payments

FACTOR 8 - INDEPENDENT HAEMOPHILIA GROUP (PRESS RELEASE ON GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ON INFECTED BLOOD PAYMENTS) EMBARGOED UNTIL 12.01AM 30TH APRIL 2019

To the utter dismay of victims and families impacted by the contaminated blood scandal, the Government has today failed once again to accept its liability for the manufacture, supply and distribution of infected Factor VIII and IX Concentrate products that infected a generation of Haemophiliacs with Hepatitis C and/or HIV in the 1970s and 1980s.

In a blatant attempt of damage limitation, the Government has today announced a derisory offer of subsistence to some victims on the very day that the Infected Blood Inquiry begins hearing testimony from those infected and affected.

If the figures in the Department of Health’s own 2016 report are to be believed, the supposed increase today equates to less than £900 per person infected. We also note with interest that the Health Minister has stated she has committed “up to” this figure, meaning the reality could in fact be far less than the shameful amount announced.

In September 2016 former Health Minister Lord David Owen said “Government has doled out as little money as they can get away with in public opinion at the time,  so then it takes it off the headlines of the newspapers and then it comes back again and they do a little bit more”.

Jason Evans (Founder of Factor 8) said: “Today’s announcement is not welcome. People are sick and dying, families are dealing with severe bereavement but the Government refuses to accept its clear liability and pay compensation. Instead of paying compensation, the Government provides criteria ridden and means tested scraps. These begging bowls are available only to those who meet certain requirements and exclude many of those affected. If the government truly wants to do the right thing they will provide a statement accepting their liability now, there is no reason why they cannot do that before the Inquiry reports and without delay, this was the approach taken in the Republic of Ireland. Our members will be bitterly disappointed with the Governments insulting actions today that attempt to overshadow an important day for the victims at the Inquiry and represent virtually no change for most of those impacted by the contaminated blood scandal.”

Factor 8Comment