A scheme to deliver payments to those affected by the tainted blood scandal will be announced this week as ministers scramble to help those harmed by the ‘historic evil’.
Sources in Whitehall have confirmed that an interim payment scheme will be confirmed in the coming days, once officials resolve issues to ensure victims are not taxed on the payments or their benefits in are affected. Ministers are believed to accept recent recommendations that infected people and bereaved partners should receive ‘payments of at least £100,000’.
More than 4,000 people line up for payment. Kit Malthouse, the cabinet minister, prioritized the scheme last week to ensure payments were made as soon as possible.
“The infected blood scandal has been a tragedy for everyone involved, and the Prime Minister strongly believes that everyone who has suffered terribly from this injustice should be compensated as soon as possible,” a source told No. 10. “He has instructed ministers to resolve this issue so that interim payments can be made to all those infected as soon as possible, and we will set out full details later this week.”
At least 2,400 people died after contracting HIV or hepatitis C after receiving infected blood from the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s. As many as 30,000 people became seriously ill. The scandal has been called the worst treatment disaster in NHS history.
The decision to launch the scheme comes after three former health secretaries called for immediate compensation for the victims. Jeremy Hunt, Matt Hancock and Andy Burnham all backed the call, launched by an inquiry overseen by Sir Brian Langstaff.
A government source said: “We know that the thousands of people who have been victims of this scandal have suffered unimaginable suffering, and not only is it right that they receive compensation, but that they receive this money in their accounts. banks as soon as possible.
“That’s why, following Sir Brian Langstaff’s report a few weeks ago, ministers across government have been looking very hard at how best to right this historic wrong. Given the heartbreaking position that many victims find themselves in, there is a desire at the top of government to move things forward quickly so that we can give these people clarity and assurance as soon as possible.
An open letter to Boris Johnson signed last month by organizations including the Hemophilia Society and the Terrence Higgins Trust said 419 people had died between July 2017, when the inquest was announced, and February this year .
The letter said it had been reported that an infected person died every four days.