Legal Experts Still Being Instructed By People Who Have Developed Conditions Such As Hepatitis After Receiving Infected Blood
Specialist lawyers are calling for more to be done to address the issue of infected blood still being given to patients in the UK after the Government announced victims would receive compensation.
The call follows a Government announcement that more than 4,000 victims of the infected blood scandal will now receive interim compensation of £100,000 each. The Chair of the Public Inquiry Sir Brian Langstaff said the payments should be made quickly, with some patients in poor health.
Thousands of haemophilia patients became seriously ill having been given new treatments in the 1970s and ‘80s containing blood borne diseases such as hepatitis A, B and C, and HIV, where blood products had been paid for by pharmaceutical companies and taken from high risk populations including 1000s of prison inmates.
Lawyers say the result was a tragedy resulting in the deaths of over 2,400 people, some of whom also inadvertently infected their partners and other family members.
Lessons have not been learnt according to law firm Irwin Mitchell, who continue to represent people today who have developed injuries after receiving infected blood as recently as 2021.
This has prompted the specialist lawyers to warn that the issue is far from resolved, and that more still needs to be done to protect patients.
Expert Opinion“While the Government’s announcement of this compensation package is welcome, for some victims from the 70s and 80s, it has taken over 40 years to get to this point, and it is far from the end of the matter.
“Contaminated blood still remains an ongoing issue and much more needs to be done to address the problem, as we’re continuing to see patients affected.
“It’s worrying that we’re still handling claims brought in very tragic circumstances so long after the original scandal first came to light. The tragedy is, many of these were entirely preventable, if the blood being used had been subject to thorough testing.
“We continue to support our clients as they look to receive the answers they deserve.
“This issue is far from being confined to the history books and much more still needs to be done to ensure vital blood products are thoroughly tested in order to secure patient safety.
“We now need to see the families of victims brought within the scope of the final compensation scheme. The original scandal has shown that often it is only legal challenges which provide a route to securing justice with great stress placed on individuals who are often seriously ill.” Sallie Booth - Partner
Estimates suggest as many as 6,000 people were treated with contaminated blood products in the ‘70s and ‘80s, in one of the biggest treatment scandals in the history of the NHS.
The recent announcement of interim compensation doesn’t cover victims who are still coming forward, or parents and children of those who have already died. The families are currently expected to wait for the conclusion of the Inquiry for the full compensation scheme to take effect.
The Inquiry being led by Sir Brian Langstaff is expected to deliver its findings next year.
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