says it will pay hepatitis C victims
Updated: 2003-08-29 14:23:14 -0400 (Reuters Health)
(Reuters Health) - Thousands of Britons infected with the
hepatitis C virus as a result of contaminated blood products
and transfusions are to receive compensation, Health Secretary
John Reid said on Friday.
details of the payments have yet to be worked out but a
Department of Health spokesman said the sums involved could
range from £20,000 to £45,000.
thousands of people, especially haemophiliacs, were infected
during the 1970s and early 1980s before the hepatitis C virus
could be detected in blood and before blood products were
in a statement a financial assistance scheme would be
introduced for people infected with the virus as a result of
being given blood products by the National Health Service.
looked at the history of this issue and decided on
compassionate grounds that this is the right thing to do in
this situation. I have therefore decided in principle that
English hepatitis C sufferers should receive ex-gratia
payments from the Department of Health."
ministry spokesman said compensation schemes were also planned
in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
3000 and 5000 people might be eligible for the payments, he
said. Possible ballpark figures were £20,000 for people who
had not cleared the virus from their system and £45,000 for
people with liver damage.
Haemophilia Society urged the government last year to make £52.6
million available annually for people with haemophilia who
were infected with hepatitis C through contaminated blood
charity said that from 1969 to 1985, 95% of people with
haemophilia were treated with blood products carrying a high
risk of infection with hepatitis C. As a result, 2,829
haemophiliacs alive in the country today were infected with
that annual payments were needed because of loss of earnings,
difficulties in obtaining travel, life and medical insurance,
pensions and mortgages, and the progressive impact of
hepatitis C on the health of haemophiliacs.
of British haemophiliacs have already received government
compensation for being infected with HIV via blood products.