At the end of last week our members started receiving letters from the Department of Health (England) inviting them to take part in their consultation on their proposals for changes to the contaminated blood financial support scheme for England. The story is covered in today’s edition of The National,
The letters were extremely confusing because they made no reference to the fact these decisions are responsibility of the Scottish Government or that work towards reforming the schemes is much more advanced north of the border.
We have now received this official clarification of the position,
This is a public consultation to which anyone with an interest can respond. However, the proposals for reform and the additional money committed by the Department of Health are for those infected in England.
The Department of Health’s consultation is separate from the Scottish government’s process to review financial support arrangements in Scotland. It will be for the Scottish Government to decide on what support arrangements are most appropriate for Scotland.
The Department of Health will continue to collaborate with their opposite numbers in the devolved administrations to align as far as possible and ensure the best possible outcomes for those affected.
The Department of Health will analyse its consultation responses geographically as far as possible, and results will be shared with all the UK Health Departments.
The Scottish Government has remained committed to its considerations of the proposals from the Scottish Financial Support Review Group and to making an announcement before 17 April (World Haemophilia Day) this year.
If you were infected in England then it is likely that the results of the Department of Health (England) consultation will affect you, and you may wish to take part in the consultation. If you don’t know where you were infected then you need to work out where you were first given a pooled plasma blood product.
The Caxton Foundation have helpfully produced two documents to help people understand the Department of Health (England) proposals,
- Letter to Caxton beneficiaries re DH consultation, January 2016
- Implications for Caxton beneficiaries of DH proposals, January 2016
The attitudes of campaigners in England to the consultation range from putting in strong submissions opposing the proposals through to those who are boycotting the process in favour of pursuing legal alternatives. Similarly in Scotland some take the view that it is a matter for campaigners in England but others are keen to complete the questionnaire, even though it is only applicable in England.