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Last Updated: Monday, 5 July 2004, 05:25 GMT 06:25 UK
Payout hope for Hep C patients
Blood bag
Patients were infected through contaminated blood
Patients who contracted Hepatitis C through infected blood products will be able to claim "compassionate payments" from the Scottish Executive.

From Monday, they will be able to claim from the NHS up to 40,000 depending on their condition.

About 550 patients were infected with the Hepatitis C virus between the late 1970s and early 1990s.

Doctors say not enough was known about the virus to screen it out or to understand its long term effects.

'Sum derisory'

Hepatitis C is a life-threatening condition which can lead to liver cancer.

Support groups for victims have spent many years calling for a public inquiry and compensation.

Last year the Scottish Executive led the UK in agreeing to make compassionate payments of up to 40,000.

But patients have described the sum on offer as derisory and say their fight for answers through an open inquiry will continue.

In May it was revealed that bereaved families of Hepatitis C victims were taking action against the Scottish Executive.

The families want judges to rule that Scottish Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm is breaking human rights law by refusing to hold a public inquiry.

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