The Scottish Infected Blood Forum and Haemophilia Scotland have written a joint letter to Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing to ask for a meeting about the future development of the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS).
The letter recognises the commitment of the Minister, and the Scottish Government, to working with the community to improve the scheme, which is still provides more support proportionately than any of the other UK schemes. However, we have also taken the opportunity to highlight some of the outstanding issues that we would like to discuss.
- Lessons from the rollout of the new regular payments for those in the chronic hepatitis C category of support.
- The need to protect the payments from being devalued by inflation.
- The outstanding issues from the Contaminated Blood Financial Support Review Group Report; in particular the right to convert regular payments into a lump sum and dealing with the issue of insurance premiums.
- The Scottish response to the announcement of new money for the England Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS).
- Support for family members who become carers.
- The removal of payments from widow(er)s who remarry.
- The suspension of payment from those who are imprisoned.
- Establishing a rationale for the level of payments in the chronic categories of support.
- The underuse of the one-off grants.
- The loss of data on route of infection when people transferred from the old Alliance House schemes.
- The need for the SIBSS to be supported by primary legislation.
The ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry provides the context for all of these discussion and we recognise that its recommendations may have a profound impact on what support is provided. However, we remain committed to working with the Scottish Government to make the SIBSS as good as it can be.