Campaigners on the contaminated blood and blood products issue from across the UK have been invited to a meeting with Jackie Doyle-Smith MP, of the Department of Health (UK) on Monday 21st January 2019.
The meeting is part of the response of the Government to the letter from the Inquiry Chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, to the Minister responsible for the Inquiry, The Rt Hon David Lidington MP and his response to that letter.
Our Chair, Bill Wright, is one of those invited so that he can feed in the experience of those infected and affected in Scotland – particularly in relation to the financial support payments from the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS). He appreciates that many people with extremely relevant experience have not been invited to the meeting so has been at pains to gather views in advance of the meeting.
In that spirit, he is sharing what has been agreed between those who are attending about the considerable concerns they have about access to (and variations in) financial support.
The Infected Blood Inquiry will start hearing evidence on 30 April from some of the 2,300 people infected and affected who are giving witness statements. We are representing the concerns of the infected and affected:
Adrian Melson, Birchgrove Group
Jackie Britton, Bloodloss Families
Glenn Wilkinson, Contaminated Blood Campaign
Lesley Brownless, Contaminated Blood Women
Michelle Tolley, Contaminated Wholeblood UK
Simon Hamilton, Haemophilia Northern Ireland
Bill Wright, Haemophilia Scotland
Clive Smith, The Haemophilia Society
David Thomas, Haemophilia Wales
Clair Walton, Positive Women
Andy Evans, Tainted Blood
Su Gorman, Tainted Blood
To alleviate hardship, so that we can live rather than just exist during the Inquiry as
we cope with its inevitable psychological toll, people infected and affected need:
- No reliance on means testing and income top-ups: we need clarity not charity
about our financial position
- No geographic variation: as the 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 person 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 agree.
We strongly support the work of the Inquiry, which is investigating the nature and adequacy of financial support under its Terms of Reference (8a to g) and the List of Issues (325 to 362), but are seeking urgent action now to alleviate hardship.