Infected Blood Scandal Plan

After decades of fighting for justice, the victims of the Infected Blood Scandal and their families are finally going to receive some compensation for the hardship they have faced. No amount of compensation will ever be enough to bring back those loved ones who have been lost or give health back to those given a serious disease through medical negligence. However, I welcome the Government finally taking action after so long.
 
Below is a copy of the letter outlining the Government’s plan which I received from John Glen, Minister for the Cabinet Office, who is responsible for the payment of compensation on behalf of the Government.

PUBLICATION OF THE INFECTED BLOOD INQUIRY’S FINAL REPORT

On Monday 20 May, the Infected Blood Inquiry (‘the Inquiry’) published its final report.
The report sets out the devastating consequences of the use of infected blood and
blood products, and I hope it can go some way to bringing recognition to those people
who have been infected and affected and have fought for justice for so long. As the
Prime Minister said on Monday, “This is an apology from the state to every single
person impacted by this scandal. It did not have to be this way. It should never have
been this way.”

Today, I announced the Government’s proposals for the Infected Blood Compensation
Scheme. No amount of money will erase the suffering endured by every person whose
life has been impacted by the infected blood scandal. However, I hope the
compensation we have announced today is a step towards providing recognition for the
dreadful impacts these circumstances had on peoples’ lives. The scheme will be
delivered by an arm’s-length body, the Infected Blood Compensation Authority, which is
being legislated for through the Victims and Prisoners Bill and currently at Report stage
in the Other Place.

Principles

As recommended by the Inquiry, the Infected Blood Compensation Scheme must have
regard to the principles of: “speed of provision, simplicity of process, accessibility,
involvement, proactive support, fairness and efficiency.” Above all, the scheme must
treat people with respect, dignity and compassion. These are basic rights which too
often people impacted by this appalling scandal have been denied.

Eligibility

In line with the recommendations of the Inquiry’s recommendations, we will compensate
people who have been infected and affected by the infected blood scandal.
Those who have been directly or indirectly infected through NHS-supplied blood, blood
products or tissue will be eligible to claim compensation under the Scheme, as will
affected partners, parents, siblings, children and carers of a person with an eligible
chronic infection, recognising the ramifications for loved ones where a person has been
impacted by infected blood. Where a person with an eligible infection has tragically died,
we will ensure their personal representatives can claim compensation on behalf of the
deceased’s estate.

Infected Blood Compensation Authority

The Infected Blood Compensation Authority will be formally established in law as soon
as the Victims and Prisoners Bill receives Royal Assent, but we are not waiting for this
to get underway. The body is up and running in shadow form already – interim Chief
Executive David Foley is in post and working rapidly to get the system for delivering
compensation up and running.

Today, I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Sir Robert Francis KC as
interim chair of the Infected Blood Compensation Authority. This is an interim role for a
limited time period and there will be an open competition for a permanent chair in due
course, with input from the infected blood community. Sir Robert brings a wealth of
experience, as author of the Study on Compensation, which – together with the Inquiry’s
second interim report – has been invaluable to the Government. I hope his appointment
as interim chair will provide reassurance of the Government’s intention to move forward
swiftly to people who are infected and affected .

Interim Payments

I also recognise that for many people who are living with chronic infections, there is an
urgent need for money now, ahead of the establishment of the full scheme. The
Government acknowledged this by making interim payments of £100,000 in October
2022, and the Government will now provide an additional £210,000 interim payment to
people living with an infection where they are registered with an Infected Blood Support
Scheme. I am pleased to say that, starting in the summer, these interim payments will
be delivered within 90 days so that they can reach those who need it most.

As set out in the passage of the Victims and Prisoners Bill, the Government also
recognises that there are too many tragic cases where compensation has come far too late. The Government will pay interim payments of £100,000 to estates of the deceased
infected people who were registered with existing or former support schemes. This will
apply where previous interim payments have not already been made to infected
individuals or their bereaved partners.

Engagement with the Infected Blood Community

There will be a technical Government briefing for representatives from prominent
charities, organisations, and support groups within the infected blood community across
the United Kingdom. This will be held virtually and led by Cabinet Office officials.
Sir Robert Francis KC, as Interim Chair of the Infected Blood Compensation Authority
will undertake a validation exercise to seek views from the Infected Blood community on
the proposed Infected Blood Compensation Scheme. The scope and duration of the
exercise will necessarily be limited and take place over the course of June, to ensure
the regulations are ready by the 3 month deadline as set in the Victims and Prisoners
Bill. This will help the Government ensure the scheme is fit for purpose and will best
serve those it is intended for.

The Government will provide further detail on these engagements in due course.

RT HON JOHN GLEN MP
MINISTER FOR THE CABINET OFFICE
HM PAYMASTER GENERAL