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Victim of contaminated blood scandal demands clear compensation guidelines

A victim of the contaminated blood scandal is demanding clear guidelines on how compensation will be paid to infected individuals and their families.

David Thomas, a haemophiliac from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, contracted hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood at the age of 10. One of 400 people affected in Wales, he only discovered his condition in 1993, some 13 years later.

Mr Thomas, who has since cleared the infection, was also diagnosed with significant liver disease in 2009 as a result. “I want clear guidelines on how compensation will be allocated and if it will be means-tested,” said Mr Thomas, whose cousin Lee died of liver failure after similarly contracting hepatitis C as a child. “It feels like they are setting up a board to monitor the compensation and make decisions that will be difficult to appeal, which isn’t in the spirit of the report. It’s far from what the inquiry suggests would be fair.”

On Monday, Sir Brian Langstaff, chairman of the long-awaited public inquiry, stated that now was the time for “proper compensation” and vindication for all those wronged. In 2022, an independent report by Sir Robert Francis recommended compensation for victims regardless of the public inquiry’s findings. The UK government accepted the moral case for compensation at the time and made payments of £100,000 to 4,000 infected individuals.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We will pay comprehensive compensation to those infected and affected by this scandal, accepting the principles recommended by the inquiry, which builds on the work of Sir Robert Francis. Whatever it costs to deliver this scheme, we will pay it.”

Tony Summers, who lost his son in 2008, expressed a desire for any compensation for his family to go to his son’s widow and daughter. Paul Summers died at the age of 44 after contracting HIV from contaminated blood in his teens. “As far as parents and siblings are concerned, it never occurred to us that we would be considered for compensation,” said Mr Summers. “My main concern is that they identify where the fault lay, who caused the problems, and ensure this can never happen again. Compensation cannot bring Paul back.”

The Welsh government’s Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, said it would work with the UK government to ensure Welsh beneficiaries and their families are compensated in line with the inquiry’s interim report on compensation.

Further details on the UK government’s “comprehensive compensation” promise to those both infected and affected are expected on Tuesday.

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