Three Former Health Ministers Call for Immediate Payments for Blood Victims

Three former health ministers called on the government to immediately compensate the victims of the infected blood scandal and the relatives of the victims.

Ndi Burnham, Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock stressed that as the life expectancy of many of the victims has been drastically reduced, their recommended £100,000 payment should be processed as soon as possible.

An estimated 2,400 people died after contracting HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s, which has been called the worst medical disaster in NHS history.

The investigation also involves 2,007 key participants who are infected or affected, and research is ongoing to obtain estimates of the total number of survivors.


Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says ‘corporate manslaughter’ case could be filed over tainted blood scandal (Yui Mok/PA)

Labor’s Mr Burnham stressed that the eligibility criteria for compensation set out by the government meant that relatives of the victims who were not romantic partners of the victims were not considered.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, who was Health Minister from 2009 to 2010, also said government officials lied even to ministers about contaminated products, adding that “there could be a case of corporate manslaughter.”

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “The government has not been telling the truth about this for fear of financial exposure.

“He was of the opinion for decades that nothing wrong was done, that they did everything they could, and that’s just not true, the risks were known and people were given the products anyway.

“I would even say that there could be a corporate manslaughter case here.”

“A really horrifying statistic: about every four days, someone who is infected dies,” he added.

Addressing Boris Johnson, he said: “Please Prime Minister, do it today, say you will do it today, no one will object, every member of parliament will support it, people have been waiting too long.”


Jeremy Hunt urged ministers to compensate victims of tainted blood before the end of the leadership competition (Stefan Russo/Pennsylvania)

Mr Hunt, who was health secretary from 2012 to 2018, and Mr Hancock, who served from 2018 to 2021, said they believe the government should make payments as soon as possible.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Hunt said he wanted to “call on ministers to recognize that time is of the essence” and that for many victims it would be too late to wait for the leadership contest to end.

“Successive governments, of which I was a part, have not acted as quickly as they should have, and we must recognize this as a terrible, terrible injustice,” he said.

Speaking on the same agenda, Mr. Hancock said: “I believe that when the government initiates such an investigation, which we did right, it is the moral duty of the state, the government, to pay compensation. ”

Inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff recommended that payments be made midway through the investigation in light of the “deep physical and mental suffering” caused by the scandal.

Des Collins, a lawyer representing the families, said those who are eligible for the payment must be paid within 14 days and he will increase pressure on the government to do so on Monday.


Infected Blood Inquiry (Adam Seigel/Infected Blood Inquiry/PA)

The cabinet said on Saturday it would act on compensation recommendations “as a matter of urgency” and a copy of the investigation report would be presented to MPs “after Parliament reconvenes” in September.

A spokesman said: “The Government is grateful to Sir Brian Langstaff for his interim report on temporary compensation for victims of contaminated blood.

“We understand how important this will be for people infected and affected across the UK and can confirm that the government will consider Sir Brian’s report and Sir Robert Francis QC’s advice with the utmost urgency and respond as soon as possible.

“A copy of the report will be submitted to the House of Representatives after the reconvening of Parliament.”