UK to spend US$12.7b on compensation in infected-blood scandal

UK to spend US$12.7b on compensation in infected-blood scandal
UK to spend US$12.7b on compensation in infected-blood scandal

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Ahead of the publication of an independent inquiry report tomorrow, the Sunday Times said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would make an official apology. — Reuters pic

LONDON, May 19 — Britain will spend more than £10 billion (RM59.4 billion) compensating thousands of people who were treated with blood contaminated with HIV or hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s, the Sunday Times reported.

The infected blood scandal is widely seen as one of the worst treatment disasters in the history of the state-funded National Health Service.

An estimated 30,000 people were given contaminated blood, with about 3,000 of those believed to have died. Many more lives have been affected by disease and some of those infected have never been traced.

Victims and their families are still calling for justice, compensation and answers over how it was allowed to happen despite warnings over the risks.

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The blood and blood products, some of which were imported from the United States, were administered to people needing transfusions or as treatment for haemophilia.

Ahead of the publication of an independent inquiry report tomorrow, the Sunday Times said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would make an official apology. The government would then announce a compensation package financed by borrowing as early as Tuesday.

“I think this is the worst scandal of my lifetime,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt told the paper.

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“I think that the families have got every right to be incredibly angry that generations of politicians, including me when I was health secretary, have not acted fast enough to address the scandal.”

He did not confirm the cost or funding arrangements of the compensation scheme.

Former prime minister David Cameron in 2015 apologised for the scandal following a report into its impact in Scotland. In 2017, under prime minister Theresa May, the government announced the public inquiry.

The inquiry will publish its findings tomorrow, having considered questions including whether the contaminated treatments should have been stopped sooner and whether there were attempts to cover up the problem.

The government has already paid £100,000 of interim compensation to some victims at an estimated cost of around £400 million following a recommendation from the inquiry in 2022. — Reuters

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