Three Scottish apologies and a promise of action
Today in the Scottish Parliament both the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Shona Robinson MSP made formal apologies to the families and individuals affected by the contaminated blood disaster in Scotland. Nicola Surgeon’s apology was as First Minister, on behalf of the Scottish Government, and on behalf of the NHS in Scotland. Importantly there has also been a formal apology from the Scottish National Blood Service (SNBTS). These apologies add to the apology which the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, made yesterday.
Crucially, theses apologies come with the promise of further action to provide the financial and psychosocial support those affected need. The Scottish Government has accepted that it has a moral responsibility to the contaminated blood and blood products community in Scotland. The details were set out in a Ministerial Statement from Shona Robinson today.
Key points in the Cabinet Secretary’s statement.
- Thanks to those affected and their families for giving personal and sensitive evidence to the Penrose Inquiry.
- An official apology as Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport.
- Highlighting the distressing testimony of patients and families.
- Accepting the Penrose Inquiry recommendation to offer a Hepatitis C test to anyone who might have been infected by a blood transfusion before 1991.
- Committed to reviewing the financial support arrangements and working with the rest of the UK as part of that review.
- Provide any Scottish contribution required as part of transitional arrangements for which the Prime Minister announced £25million yesterday.
- A commitment to conclude the work on financial support by World Haemophilia Day, April 2016.
- Establishing a Patient and Families Reference Group to assist with the review of the financial support arrangements.
- Using the Scottish Infected Blood Forum Scoping Exercise to provide an evidence base for the review.
- Taking forward the psychosocial support pilots with a view to developing a national service.
- Announcing a National Managed Clinical Network for Bleeding Disorder. This is something that Haemophilia Scotland has been working towards for some time and will be very similar to National Haemophilia Committees in other parts of the world, including Ireland.
- Funding for Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum.
We had met with Shona Robison MSP and Maureen Watt MSP earlier in the day to begin the work of implementing these steps. We are determined to work with the Scottish Government to help them deliver improvements as quickly as possible.