Described by Lord Robert Winston as “the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS”, more than 30,000 people were infected with hepatitis C from contaminated blood transfusions in the 1970s and 1980s, causing premature deaths, ill health and social stigma.
Between 1978 and 1985, 1,500 people were infected with the HIV virus in a similar way, most of whom were co-infected with hepatitis C as well. In all, 2,000 people are thought to have died as a result of the so-called Tainted Blood Scandal.
More than two decades on, the disaster continues to blight its victims and their families.
The scandal has been in the headlines again this week following an investigation by the The East Anglian Daily Times and The Ipswich Star, which revealed the difficulty one victim from Suffolk has faced in securing compensation.
Ipswich father-of-three Alan Burgess has urged the government to deliver on its promise of financial recompense after he was infected with both hepatitis C and HIV.
The 57-year-old, like many other victims, has suffered years of ill-health and emotional stress as a result.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron told campaigners the issue of compensation would be treated as a matter of urgency. But despite the clear failings in the standards of care delivered to patients, no settlement has as yet been agreed.
Under the current tariffs, people who were infected with hepatitis C receive an initial lump sum payment of £20,000, and then must seek grants or apply for disability payments on a means-tested basis to support them, unless their infection is recognized as stage 2 – and therefore chronic.
In mid-January 2015, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Hemophilia and Contaminated Blood published a critical report on the Government’s response to the hepatitis C contamination. Based on information gained from a YouGov survey of those affected, the report concluded that the ‘patchwork’ of trusts set up to assist those affected have “reduced victims to tears” with the system described as “demeaning”.
How can Gotelee Medical Negligence Solicitors help you in the Tainted Blood Scandal?
Professional help is at hand, though. Gotelee Solicitors has a wealth of experience and expertise in dealing with medical negligence claims, and will do their best to make the process as smooth as possible.
If you are a victim of the Tainted Blood Scandal – or if you have concerns about any medical care you have received – our specialist lawyers will offer the best possible support and guidance.