Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 17:54 UK

Government 'will not appeal' contaminated blood ruling

The government will not challenge the legal victory over compensation payments secured by a composer who contracted HIV and hepatitis C through NHS treatment with contaminated blood products, health minister Earl Howe has said.

Andrew March, a haemophiliac, criticised the government's refusal to match higher payouts in the Republic of Ireland.

In April, Mr Justice Holman ruled that the way the UK government had reached its decision on compensation levels was flawed but said it was not his role to rule on the amount paid.

At question time on 2 June 2010, Lord Howe said: "We have decided not to seek leave to appeal the judgment and we will be writing shortly to let the court know of our decision.

"We are considering our response to the judgment and will announce our decision in due course.

"In the meantime ex-gratia payments will continue to be paid at current levels to those affected."

Labour former minister for the disabled Lord Morris of Manchester, a long-time campaigner on the issue, described it as the "worst ever treatment disaster" in the history of the NHS.

He said that 1,982 haemophilia patients had now died "from being infected with HIV and Hepatitis C by contaminated NHS blood products" and called for "no delay in a just settlement for this cruelly stricken and arguably most needful minority in Britain today".

Lord Howe replied: "I hope you can take as read my wish to see those whose health is suffering as a result of this tragedy properly looked after by the NHS."

But he said it was "early days" in considering the court judgment.

Other questions focused on the situation on the Korean peninsula, child detention, and synthetic biology.

Due to a technical problem, this video is labelled "House of Commons" in the bottom right of the screen. Our apologies for this error.

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