We are very grateful to everyone who has taken the time to get in touch about their hopes for the reference group announced by the Cabinet Secretary, Shona Robison MSP, last week. There have been some excellent and well thought through contributions. Some common themes have come through load and clear.
You have told us that,
- proper financial support should be the top priority.
- speed is very important, there should be no unnecessary delay.
- that the group should be small enough to be as efficient as possible.
- it is important that ALL those affected by the disaster have a chance to take part.
- that the needs of those who are very ill and those who have lost loved ones are not forgotten.
- access to the new treatments for Hepatitis C is important.
Bill Wright, Susan Warren and Dan Farthing-Sykes met with the Scottish Government yesterday to discuss how this might work in practice. We talked about the possibility of having two groups. One that engaged as widely as possible in the community and made sure that the changes work for everyone. You shouldn’t need to be someone who is good in committees and meetings to have your say. The other group could have an independent Chair and be very focused on working through the fine details of any scheme. It should include people with a wide range of experiences of the disaster. The new financial support arrangements would be the top priority for this group. The Scottish Government were clear that there is the political will in Scotland to take action and that they understand the need for urgency.
We spoke to Philip Dolan of the Scottish Infected Blood Forum straight after the meeting. Both organisations are committed to working as closely as possible and making progress as quickly as possible. We will be keeping each other well informed throughout this process. We are also working closely with the key individual campaigners. We think it is very important we all work together to get this right.
We will keep you updated at every step of the way on this website. Please let us know if you disagree with anything or have any ideas you’d like us to take up.