Today (14.01.15) the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood published a report into the current support arrangements for people affected by the contaminated blood disasters.
The five key findings of the report are,
- Many of those affected are living in poverty.
- The discretionary grants process is demeaning and onerous.
- Many don’t know what support they can apply for.
- It is too hard to apply for support.
- There is no clear relationship between the needs or numbers of those affected and the funding of the support arrangements.
The recommendations of the report include,
- That a public health doctor conducts an assessment of need on which the levels of payment can be based.
- That there should be ongoing payments to people in the Skipton Stage 1 group.
- That those widowed by Hepatitis C get the same support as those widowed by HIV.
- That help is available to those unable to register with the current financial support organisations.
- That, because of the increased needs caused by the infections, the poverty line of the general population in is not an appropriate target for support. Instead beneficiaries should be able to live a comfortable life on the payments they receive.
The report also calls for,
- Consideration to be given to merging some of the trusts.
- The Prime Minster to issue an apology.
- Payments not to be denied because medical records have been lost.
Haemophilia Scotland believes that the best way of providing financial support would be through individual assessments followed by substantial lump sum payments. However, if there is to be ongoing support then we propose that affected people in Scotland are supported by a single, Scottish, trust. As the result of dealing with smaller numbers of people, a Scottish trust would be able to offer a more personal and flexible service. It would also be much more accountable to the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, and Scottish Bleeding Disorders Community. While we await the Penrose Report, we welcome this report from the APPG and the excellent job it does of highlighting the inadequateness and unfairness of the current arrangements.
The report from the Scoping Exercise conducted by the Scottish Infected Blood Forum on behalf of the Scottish Government, and which looked at the impact of the infections in Scotland, is expected to report soon. We also expect an announcement this month from the Penrose Inquiry about when their Final Report will be published.