I am writing further to my email below to update you on the work of the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood.
Members of the APPG met with the Public Health Minister earlier this month. A number of issues were discussed, including compensation and how this should be administered; access to drugs and (in particular new Hepatitis C drugs) and other NHS treatments. The MPs who were present at the meeting stressed the need for the Government to act on this quickly. They also stressed the need for a compensation system that is fair, meaningful and conclusive; that recognises the long-term suffering of those impacted and doesn’t unfairly discriminate between different affected groups. This must include family members and widows. We are clear this requires a complete change in the way the support arrangements are administered. We also discussed the Irish HNote of APPG meeting 5 Nov – finalealth card to assist in accessing timely treatment and whether this could be adopted in the UK.
No firm conclusions were made as this was a consultative meeting. However, following the meeting the Department of Health did produce a note of the meeting, a copy of which I have attached. As you will see from the attached note, the Minister made it clear that she would not be in a position to put forward any proposals until after the Comprehensive Spending Review which would decide the Department of Health’s budget. This will not come until the end of November and it is therefore unlikely that any proposals will be finalised before Christmas. While the APPG is disappointed about this delay, we are pleased that the Minister has promised an update before Christmas.
One concern that was raised by MPs the meeting, but not resolved, was the Government’s insistence that any future support or compensation would have to be funded entirely from the Department of Health’s budget. The APPG has consistently argued that the contaminated blood scandal was a national treatment disaster, and so the money required to support those affected should come from Treasury reserves, as has happened with other national issues such as Equitable Life. I wrote to the Prime Minister on this point in September, and a letter in response, which I have attached. I think this letter is a positive step and the APPG will continue to make the case for the Treasury to provide funding directly.
I will email again when I have more information. In the meantime further updates on the work of the APPG are available here:
Diana Johnson MP
Co-Chair, APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood
For Diana’s letters please click links below