I am relieved and grateful that after a long and painful process, a judge has finally ruled in favor of compensating the parents and children of victims who contracted hepatitis C and HIV from contaminated blood during the 1970s and 1980s.
This scandal has had a devastating impact on many of our constituents, and the inquiry's findings of "avoidable harm" caused by contaminated blood products, as well as the cover-up by the UK government and medical establishment, are deeply troubling.
Last July, victims or their bereaved partners received no less than £100,000 in compensation, resulting in payouts of about £400 million. Chair Sir Brian Langstaff, who led the Inquiry, has now recommended extending the compensation scheme to include the wider family, recognizing the deaths of people who have not yet been acknowledged.
While compensation cannot fully make up for the lost futures, the deaths of loved ones, or the profound impact on careers, marriages, and mental and physical health, it is an important step towards the government accepting responsibility, acknowledging the loss, and issuing a meaningful apology that explains what went wrong. I am encouraged that the UK government has apologized for these tragic events and has committed to implementing the recommendations of the inquiry, as well as providing ongoing support to those affected by the infections, including access to healthcare and mental health services.
Campaigners who have been advocating for compensation for victims and their families for decades have welcomed this ruling. However, we recognize that there is still a long way to go, and we eagerly await the final report and recommendations from the inquiry team in the autumn. The Infected Blood Inquiry is a dark chapter in the history of the NHS, and it is crucial that justice is served and that those affected receive the support and recognition they deserve.