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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 07:40 GMT
Blood compensation 'derisory'
Operation
Infected blood was used in transfusions
Haemophiliacs have attacked the executive's plans to compensate those who contracted hepatitis C through contaminated NHS blood products.

They say the finance package on offer is insufficient.

The Scottish Haemophilia Groups Forum (SHGF) described as "derisory" the maximum 45,000 pay-out for those suffering cirrhosis, liver cancer or other serious illness as a result of receiving contaminated blood.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm promised the payments last month, but said they could not be made until uncertainties over the executive's constitutional powers and the effect of compensation on benefits are resolved with Westminster.

An additional 25,000 appears derisory for gradual loss of life directly from NHS blood products
Philip Dolan
SHGF
Apart from those worst affected, all NHS patients who contracted hep C will receive 20,000 under the executive's plan, estimated to cost around 15m.

That figure is only a sixth of what officials said the recommendations of an expert group set up by ministers would cost.

That group proposed a trust to allocate cash based on three categories:

  • 10,000 for all affected

  • 50,000 for those with chronic hep C

  • additional financial support, continuous if necessary, for those suffering cirrhosis, liver cancer or other serious conditions.

About 500 haemophiliacs in Scotland have contracted hepatitis C through contaminated blood products.

In a letter to MSPs, SHGF chairman and expert group member Philip Dolan said the 89m figure attached to the group's recommendations was based on inflated estimates of the number of people thought to be infected.

He also criticised the absence of cash for relatives of those already deceased.

Advanced illness

He added: "We are also disturbed by the lack of extra or ongoing provision for those in stage 3 who have advanced on to serious cirrhosis or terminal liver cancer.

"His own alternative of an additional 25,000 appears derisory for gradual loss of life directly from NHS blood products."

A health department spokeswoman said some hep C sufferers would gain more through the executive's scheme than they would have under the expert group's proposals.

"On cost we have made it clear that funding of the payments had to be balanced with other competing health priorities," she added.





LINKS TO MORE SCOTLAND STORIES


 

SEE ALSO:
The fight for Hep C compensation
17 Jan 03 |  Scotland
Minister intervenes in Hep C row
17 Jan 03 |  Scotland
Blood pay-out call fails
19 Dec 02 |  Scotland


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