Skip to main content

Blood: Contamination

Volume 488: debated on Friday 6 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will hold a public inquiry into the infection of haemophiliacs with hepatitis C and HIV due to the use of contaminated blood by the NHS. (261080)

We have considered the call for a public inquiry very carefully. However the Government do not consider a further inquiry is justified as it would not add to current knowledge about how infections happened or the steps taken to deal with the problem.

Although the Government do not accept that any wrongful practices were employed, successive Governments have acknowledged the tragic circumstances surrounding infection in recipients of blood and blood products. That is why ex-gratia payment schemes were established.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to pay compensation to haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C and HIV following the use of contaminated blood by the NHS. (261081)

The Department has set up three ex gratia payment schemes for those infected with Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis C through national health service treatment—the Macfarlane Trust, the Eileen Trust and the Skipton Fund Ltd.

The Macfarlane Trust was set up in 1988 to establish a hardship fund to assist haemophiliacs who contracted HIV following treatment with blood products on the NHS.

The Eileen Trust was set up in 1993 as a charitable trust to assist people other than those with bleeding disorders, who had contracted HIV through NHS treatment with contaminated blood products.

The Skipton Fund Ltd was set up in 2004 as an ex gratia payment scheme for patients infected with hepatitis C through NHS contaminated blood and blood products, provided the patient was alive on 29 August 2003.

The Department is giving Lord Archer's report the consideration it deserves and will respond as soon as it has done so.