Contaminated Blood Hepatitis C Infected Blood Inquiry News Penrose Inquiry Scottish Government Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme Scottish Parliament Widows

New regular payments for those with chronic Hep C from #Contaminated Blood announced by @JoeFitzSNP & @scotgovhealth

Yesterday, Scottish Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP used an answer to a written question from the Convenor of the Cross Party Group for Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions, Bob Doris MSP, to announce the details of new ex-gratia support payments from the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS).

Answered by Joe Fitzpatrick (23/11/2018):The Scottish Government will make the following payments for those with chronic hepatitis c (HCV) who have submitted an application to the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS):

  • £18,900 per year for those who have self-assessed as severely affected by HCV
  • £6,300 per year for those who have self-assessed as moderately affected by HCV
  • £1,000 per year for those who have self-assessed that HCV does not have a noticeable day to day impact on their life

For those widows, widowers, civil partners or other long-term partners of deceased beneficiaries who had chronic HCV, they will receive annual payments at 75% of the level above:

  • £14,175 per year for those who have self-assessed that their spouse or partner was severely affected by HCV
  • £4,725 per year for those who have self-assessed that their spouse or partner was moderately affected by HCV

In addition, those widows, widowers or partners of those who had chronic HCV who did not receive the £30,000 additional lump sum paid to living beneficiaries with chronic HCV will now also receive this one-off lump sum payment.

Commenting to the BBC shortly after the announcement, Bill Wright, Chair of Haemophilia Scotland, said the payments recognised that the lives of those with less severe symptom had also been badly affected.
This was a group of people who were rather left behind in this process.

Those with cancer, those with liver cirrhosis had been well supported. However, those who’d been chronically affected, whether marriages have been affected, whether employment and income have been affected – they are now receiving the kind of support we’ve been looking for, for a very long time.

The announcement is the latest in a series of changes made to the support arrangements for those infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products in Scotland since the Penrose Inquiry reported in March 2015.
Immediately after the publication of the Penrose Report the Scottish Government announced that they accepted that they had a ‘moral responsibility’ to the affected community and established a the Infected Blood Financial Review Group to advise them on how best to support the community.  This led to the establishment of the Scottish Infected Blood Support scheme and significant improvements in the levels of financial support payments.
The Infected Blood Financial Review Group Report also made recommendations for future work once the establishment of the SIBSS was completed.  This included a recommendation to establish a Clinical Review Group to look at the impact of Hepatitis C other than on the liver.  It was the Scottish Government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Clinical Review Group Report which led to the introduction of the new regular payment from the SIBSS.
Commenting on the process so far, Dan Farthing-Sykes, CEO of Haemophilia Scotland said,
The progress we have made since the Penrose Report has been achieved thanks to the hard work of a lot of people.  Campaigners have worked hard to give the affected community in Scotland a clear voice.  Haemophilia Scotland, the Scottish Infected Blood Forum, and independent campaigners have all worked very closely together to achieve that.  Affected people all over Scotland have also built good working relationships MSP from all parties and keep them well briefed.

The Scottish Government has been genuine in its efforts to take on board the concerns of the community and have shown themselves to be committed to improving the SIBSS.   While we don’t agree all of the time, we know when we raise concerns or issues we will be listened to and our views taken into account.  Their efforts to identify sufficient budget to make these payments, against a difficult financial backdrop, are particularly appreciated.

This announcement means that every infected person in Scotland, or their widows, are entitled to lump sum payments and regular payments which acknowledges the impact the infections have had on their life.  It’s a very significant step that affected people themselves have decided which category of support is most appropriate for them and their circumstance.

However, there is still more to do, and we have already identified some key issues for future work with the Scottish Government,
  • The ability to exchange the entitlement to ongoing payments for full and final settlement lump sum.
  • The issue of access to financial products, such as life insurance, for reasonable premiums.
  • Preventing the value of the support payments being reduced by inflation.
  • A secure model for the bleeding disorders psychology service.
  • The ongoing need for regular review of the SIBSS.

There are also big issues relating to legislation, wider Scottish Government policy, or the issue of liability, which we will continue to raise with the Scottish Government and/or the Infected Blood Inquiry.

  • The historic losses suffered by individuals as a direct result of the infections.
  • The right of widows who remarry to continue to receive support.
  • The double lock (residency and place of infection) for access to the SIBSS.
  • The rights of other family members who have been affected by the infections such as children and grandparents.

If you would like to discuss these changes, and the Infected Blood Inquiry, with other affected people in Scotland then please register for the joint campaign meeting being held on the 1st of December in Edinburgh by Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum.

Register for the Joint Campaign Meeting

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