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Blood: Contamination

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2010, Official Report, column 562W, on blood: contamination, what discussions he had with Lord Archer of Sandwell before publishing his estimate that the cost to the public purse of implementing the recommendations of Lord Archer's report on contaminated blood and blood products could be between £3 billion and £3.5 billion; and if he will provide a detailed breakdown of that figure. (324845)

The then Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) and the then Minister of State (Dawn Primarolo) met Lord Archer on 11 March 2009 to discuss his report. There has been no discussion with Lord Archer of the cost of implementing his recommendations on financial relief to those affected by NHS-supplied contaminated blood and blood products.

Our initial estimate of £3-3.5 billion was based on an understanding that individual payments made in Ireland to infected patients ranged between £500,000 and £1,000,000, and was derived by multiplying the average of those figures by the estimated number of infected claimants in the UK. It did not take account of payments to dependents of those infected.

It is not possible to calculate an accurate figure for the cost of implementing Lord Archer's report because the Irish scheme uses a series of eligibility criteria which means that different claimants have received different amounts of compensation, depending on their circumstances. Therefore, unless each UK claimant is assessed individually against the same criteria, it would be impossible to give an accurate figure. It is also not possible to estimate with any certainty how many people in the UK might be eligible to apply.