Sir Robert Francis delivered his report to me on 14 March, and I will carefully consider his findings and recommendations. It is my intention to publish the compensation framework study alongside the Government’s response as soon as possible, and in sufficient time for the infected blood inquiry and its core participants to consider them before Sir Robert gives evidence to the inquiry.
In the five years since the UK Government finally agreed to hold a public inquiry, 90 victims of the contaminated blood disaster have died in Scotland alone, 27 of them just in the last year since Sir Robert Francis was asked to consider compensation mechanisms. The inquiry team and victim groups need sufficient time to look at his report, so does the Minister not recognise how disrespectful it is to the victims of this disaster to delay publishing the report and then announce the Government’s response and decision without hearing their views?
It is extremely important that all those who have suffered so terribly can get the answers that they have spent decades waiting for. The hon. Lady knows that it was my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) who initiated this inquiry after 30 years of successive Governments not doing so, and it is Her Majesty’s Government who commissioned, proactively, the study that we are talking about this morning. What I have said is that I will consider the matter very carefully, and all due and appropriate considerations are being given to all of the factors that the hon. Lady has mentioned and to other factors, too. We will do that in sufficient time for the inquiry and its core participants to consider them before Sir Robert gives evidence.
Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that there is another NHS treatment disaster in the making, in that there may be 10,000 or more people who have suffered serious injury or even death as a result of adverse reactions to the covid-19 vaccinations? Will he give an assurance that those people will get justice immediately rather than have to wait for decades?