As part of the Scottish Government’s response to the Penrose Report, a group has been established to review the current financial support arrangements for people affected by the contaminated blood disaster.
The Scottish Review of Financial Support Schemes will produce advice for Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing, and Sport, before the end of the year. This is the mechanism that the Scottish Government are using to fulfil their commitment to take part in a UK wide review of financial support and to take moral responsibility for supporting those affected.
Because of urgent need for more support, the first meeting was arranged before a Chair had been found and was held on 11 June. To get things moving Shona Robison agreed to chair the first meeting herself. She is now handing over to Ian Welsh of the Health and Social Care Alliance who has agreed to Chair the process.
Some of the key decision from the first meeting were to,
- accept the appointment of Ian Welsh as Chair.
- accept the draft Terms of Reference and to incorporate the details of an alternative Terms of Reference produced by the Scottish Infected Blood Forum (SIBF) into the work plan. Further consultation with the group will take place.
- agree to consultation with the community to be carried out throughout the process. Ideas about how this can best be achieved to be fed into Dan Farthing-Sykes of Haemophilia Scotland to be brought back to the next meeting.
- agree to model the costs of several different potential approaches.
- agreed to maintain confidentiality during the discussions but that a short factual note would be prepared after every meeting that could be shared with the wider community.
Read the note of the first meeting in full.
- request more detailed statistics on how many people were accessing the current support arrangements in Scotland.
- agree to examine the cross-border issues if a Scottish scheme was part of any recommendation to the Cabinet Secretary.
There was also a discussion about interim / transitional payments following the announcements of £25 million by David Cameron. The intention seemed to be to channel this money through the Skipton Fund or Caxton Foundation to patients and families, but this was still not clear.
The Cabinet Secretary said that her intention was that,
Scotland will match any transitional payments – Scottish beneficiaries would not be disadvantaged.