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Medical Treatments: Compensation

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what ex-gratia payments have been made by his Department to (a) persons adversely affected by thalidomide and (b) other NHS patients who have been adversely affected by NHS treatment. (294725)

Ex-gratia payments have been made to the Thalidomide Trust in 1974 (£5 million) and 1978 (£0.8 million) to offset the tax liability of the fund.

A final payment of £7 million was made in 1996. This payment was expressed by the then Health Ministers as being for the unique and tragic circumstances that surrounded the thalidomide disaster and did not constitute a tax offset.

There are three ex-gratia schemes in the United Kingdom that make payments to those infected with either HIV or hepatitis C via national health service supplied contaminated blood and blood products: The Macfarlane and the Eileen Trusts (for HIV) and the Skipton Fund (for hepatitis C). To the end of March 2009, around £50 million has been paid out via the Macfarlane and Eileen Trusts and almost £100 million has been paid out via the Skipton Fund.

Ex-gratia payments have been made to other NHS patients adversely affected by NHS treatment, however data is not collected centrally.