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UK To Pay £100,000 To Bloodshed Victims Decades After Scandal

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Thousands of people with haemophilia acquired hepatitis C and HIV after blood transfusions, mainly in the United States, through the National Health Service (NHS) in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

A laboratory technician places samples of human blood (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

Written by: Melvin Samuel

Thousands of people in Britain infected with HIV and hepatitis C through infected blood transfusions will receive compensation payments decades after the scandal, the UK government announced on Wednesday.

The payment of £100,000 ($121,000) to each victim is provisional after Brian Langstaff, the chairman of the public inquiry into the long-running scandal, last month recommended making the payments immediately before waiting for the ongoing investigation to conclude.

A former Supreme Court judge said “the moral case for compensation is unquestionable”.

The government said the tax-free payments, given to survivors and the estimated thousands who died from the disease, will be made by the end of October.

Thousands of people with haemophilia acquired hepatitis C and HIV after blood transfusions, mainly in the United States, through the National Health Service (NHS) in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Due to a shortage of blood products in Britain, the NHS bought most of its stock from American suppliers whose donors, including prisoners and other groups at high risk of infection, were paid for their blood.

An estimated 2,400 patients died after contracting the disease from contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

A previous inquiry which concluded in 2009 found that ministers should have acted more quickly to make Britain’s blood more self-sufficient in order to reduce its reliance on imports.

It also asked for compensation for those affected.

A 2017 Supreme Court ruling allowed victims and their families to seek damages through the British justice system.

In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that “nothing can erase the pain and suffering endured by those affected by this terrible injustice”.

But he added that the government is “taking steps to make good the victims and those who have tragically lost their partners by ensuring that they receive these interim payments as quickly as possible”.

However, the campaigners said that this announcement could not see most of the family members affected by this scam, who will miss out on this temporary money.

When the public inquiry is completed next year, it is expected to make final recommendations regarding compensation for this broad group of people, including bereaved parents and children of victims.

(Reuters)

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