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Solicitor for contaminated blood victims calls for input into appointment of independent reviewer

Solicitors for victims of the contaminated blood scandal have urged the government to ensure that those infected and affected are given sufficient time to input into the appointment of an independent reviewer.

Posted on 25 March 2021

The government announced today the intention to appoint an independent reviewer to examine a framework for compensation for those infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products. This would report back before the end of the separate public inquiry chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff with the hope that compensation can be implemented quickly afterwards if it is recommended by the public inquiry.

The government has also announced that it will resolve disparities in compensation between those living in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and wider issues of disparity including support for bereaved partners. In addition, the government stated that they have improved access to psychological support for those infected and affected.

Those infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products given to patients in the 70s, 80s and 90s via the NHS have been fighting for decades for compensation that fully reflects the harm they have suffered. The contaminated blood left thousands of patients infected with HIV and Hepatitis C.

It has been reported that the compensation scheme is likely to take into account compensation schemes in other countries, including in Ireland where 5,000 victims have received more than €1 billion (£861 million) in total.

The Leigh Day infected blood inquiry team represents over 300 people who have been infected or affected by the contaminated blood or blood products.

Solicitor Emma Jones from the Leigh Day infected blood inquiry team said:
 
"The Leigh Day infected blood inquiry team welcomes the fact that Ms Mordaunt has put some flesh on the bones of the announcement regarding an independent review into a compensation scheme. The selection of the independent reviewer who will be appointed to carry out a study for a framework for compensation will be key to ensuring that the voices of those infected and affected are heard.  It is vital that the government ensure that sufficient time is given those infected and affected to put forward representations regarding the appointment.  If our clients are not afforded input into the decision making, we will be ready to challenge any suggested appointment which we do not believe is right for the position." 

Leigh Day is also bringing a separate group claim against the government for compensation for those infected and affected, led by partner Gene Matthews. More information about this group claim can be found on the Contaminated Blood Claim website.