[I don’t always read the papers when I get them and sometimes might pick up on an article from a week or two ago, this is one of them.]
To say I was astonished and annoyed, reading the treatment of thousands of patients infected with hepatitis C because of incompetence and neglect, is putting it mildly.
For over 20 years the victims, of professional incompetence in the Blood Bank services and moral turpitude in numerous governments, have tried to get a degree of justice, without success, after being infected by contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.
As far as I understand, until threatened with court action in 1991 consecutive governments have done next to nothing to help and recompense the victim’s of their collective negligence, this explains it better:
“In 1991, under threat of court action for allowing knowingly contaminated blood products into the country, the British Government made ex-gratia payments to those infected with HIV, at an average of £60,000, upon the condition that haemophiliacs would sign an undertaking not to sue the Government for any future infection through their treatments. ”
It doesn’t get much lower than that.
According to the Beeb, they (along with the families of those who died) might, if they push, get a little bit more money.
However, as the Yorkshire Post reports:
“But victims will still not receive the same levels of compensation as received by victims in the Republic of Ireland after the Government ruled such a move would be too expensive.
The package was unveiled after growing pressure on the Government to compensate those who became ill after receiving contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s, some of which came from “skid row” donors such as prison inmates.
Medical expert Lord Winston has branded the scandal “the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS”, with 4,670 haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C, of whom 1,243 were also infected with HIV. Nearly 2,000 have already died.
A two-year privately-funded inquiry into the scandal led by Lord Archer of Sandwell found that commercial interests had taken precedence over public health and said Ministers should apologise to victims, provide financial assistance for those prevented from working, ensure victims could get insurance and offer them benefits not freely available on the NHS, such as free prescription drugs, counselling and home nursing. “
Update 1: We should not forget how the Department of Health deliberately withheld information until the very last minute, in 2009:
“The government is accused of withholding documents that could be vital to uncovering how thousands of haemophiliacs became infected with hepatitis C and HIV through blood transfusions.
Although the Department of Health has handed over thousands of papers to an independent public inquiry chaired by Lord Archer of Sandwell, the MP Jenny Willott has discovered through a parliamentary question that 35 are being withheld, many on the grounds of commercial interest.
“It is appalling that after 20 years, the government is still withholding information on one of the biggest health disasters this country has ever seen,” said Willott.”