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Victims of the contaminated blood scandal to be compensated

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Shoosmiths Serious Injury has welcomed the news that thousands of victims of an ongoing medical scandal dubbed the “the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS”, should now receive vital compensation.

More than 4,000 surviving victims of the contaminated blood scandal should receive provisional compensation of £100,000 each, a judge said this week.

Shoosmiths’ Amy Greaves, a Birmingham-based Principal Associate specialising in clinical negligence welcomed the news.

She said: “We would urge the government to act quickly in response to Sir Brian Langstaff’s recommendation of compensation payments to those impacted by the contaminated blood scandal."

At least 2,400 people died after contracting HIV or hepatitis C through NHS treatments in the 1970s and 80s.

Currently, victims and families receive an annual payment but have not been compensated for loss of earnings, care costs and other lifetime losses.

Amy comments: “Due to blood contamination, victims were exposed to hepatitis and HIV, which significantly affected their daily lives, impacting their ability to work, increased their care needs and, in some cases, resulted in death. In any other clinical negligence case these losses would be recoverable, and it is only fair that victims of this scandal receive the same level of justice.”

Now, as part of an ongoing inquiry into the scandal, victims should be allowed to claim compensation.

Inquiry chairman Sir Brian said those who currently qualify for financial support, including some bereaved partners of those who died, should now be offered interim compensation of £100,000 each.

Amy added: “In addition to paying compensation to individuals and families affected, it is important that the inquiry identifies why the blood contamination occurred at all and ensure that lessons are learnt to prevent anything like this happening again”.

Thousands of NHS patients with haemophilia and other blood disorders became seriously ill after being given a new treatment called factor VIII or IX from the mid-1970s onwards.

At the time the medicine was imported from the US where it was made from the pooled blood plasma of thousands of paid donors, including some in ‘high-risk’ groups.

An inquiry was launched into the scandal in 2018 and is expected to be concluded next year, when final recommendations on compensation for a wider group of people will be announced.

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This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022

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