As regular readers of this website will know, there has been an ongoing attempt at a dialogue between twelve infected and affected blood campaigners and the UK Government. This saw Theresa May writing to the group as one of her last acts as Prime Minister.
At the end of last week, a letter was sent by eleven of these campaigners to challenge the new Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon Boris Johnson MP, to deepen that dialogue and cut through any obstacles to progress.
After welcoming the Prime Minister to his new position their letter stresses,
- The size and importance of the Infected Blood Inquiry into the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.
- That the Government has already told the Inquiry of their acceptance that things went wrong: that things happened that should not have happened.
- The urgency of action in the face of a death every 96 hours.
- The parliamentary support for compensation without waiting for the Inquiry final report.
- The unfairness of the increasing large disparity in financial support payments in the different nations of the UK.
- That people with severely compromised health should not be forced to count every penny.
- The systemic lack of medical monitoring and support of this community.
The campaigners conclude by saying,
“We believe you and the Chancellor to be willing to cut through any administrative and political obstacles and to do the right thing for the people we represent. We are ready to meet and assist you.”
The letter also reiterated the six principles put forward by the campaigners to alleviate hardship, so that those infected and affected can live rather than just exist during the Inquiry as they cope with its inevitable psychological toll.
- No reliance on means testing and income top-ups: we need clarity not charity about our financial position.
- No geographic variation: as the then Prime Minister said in July 2017 when she announced the Inquiry ‘thousands of patients expected the world-class care our NHS is famous for, but they were failed’, and now the variations in support compound the injustice and unfairness we have suffered.
- No bereaved partner, bereaved parent or carer should suffer financial hardship: we want to know that those who have cared for us will be financially secure if we don’t live to see the end of the Inquiry.
- People infected who are also bereaved should be recognised in their own right as both an infected and a bereaved person: our suffering should no longer be minimised.
- People bereaved as children and people infected who were previously refused assistance should not be forgotten: we all suffer the impact of what happened.
- No-one should be worse off and no-one infected should receive less than someone affected as a result of any changes agreed.