Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

1.9m compensation for Welsh thalidomide survivors


Rosie Moriarty-Simmons says the money will help ease the lives of thalidomide-impaired people

Welsh victims of the thalidomide scandal are to be given money to help improve their care as part of £1.9m of funding from the assembly government.

The cash will be distributed among the 31 known Welsh survivors to minimise any deterioration in their health.

It will be in addition to the £20m UK government compensation package given to the Thalidomide Trust to help survivors around Britain last month.

Babies were born with limb deformities after their mothers took the drug.

Pregnant women were prescribed it in the 1950s and 1960s as a treatment for morning sickness or insomnia.

It was withdrawn from sale in 1961 after babies were born with severe physical disabilities.

The assembly government funding, which will be available from April, will be given to the Thalidomide Trust to distribute to thalidomiders - as survivors call themselves - to improve their care and support.

While survivors in Wales will have access to a share of the funding announced by the Department of Health, I wanted to provide additional funding
First Minister Carwyn Jones

In January, the UK government expressed its "sincere regret" and "deep sympathy" to 400 UK victims of the thalidomide scandal ahead of unveiling its £20m compensation package.

First Minister Carwyn Jones, who was making the funding announcement while meeting thalidomide survivors in Gorseinon, Swansea, said: "I believe that addressing the ongoing needs of thalidomiders rests with the UK government as it authorised the use of thalidomide.

"While survivors in Wales will have access to a share of the funding announced by the Department of Health, I wanted to provide additional funding to ensure that people affected by thalidomide in Wales receive the care and support they need.

"I am pleased that the UK government has expressed its sincere regret and deep sympathy for the injury and suffering endured by all those affected when expectant mothers took the drug between 1958 and 1961.

"The funding I am announcing today will help thalidomiders manage the continuing and increasing health needs as they get older.

"We will be working with the Thalidomide Trust on how this funding will be distributed to maximise the benefits for individuals."

Nick Dobrik, representative of the National Advisory Group for the Thalidomide Trust and leading campaigner, said: "On behalf of the thalidomide community, we would like to thank the Welsh Assembly Government for its speed and generosity in contributing to helping thalidomiders maintain their independence."

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