Judicial review forces government rethink, but less than 20% of victims benefit
Campaign groups such as Tainted Blood (TB) and the Manor House Group (MHG) have campaigned relentlessly over many years and following the Archer Inquiry their optimism was raised. Spirits were soon lowered though, when the Labour Government refused to implement the Archer recommendations. Then in 2010, following a High Court ruling, the Government were compelled to review their decision to ignore the recommendations of the Archer Report and hopes were again raised.
In January 2011 Andrew Lansley released the review document saying that he hoped it would bring closure to those affected. He said ìFor too long those people infected with hepatitis C have received different support to those infected with HIV. We now intend to make the financial support for hepatitis C patients fairer and more comparable to the arrangements for those infected with HIV.î
But the majority of long suffering victims received nothing at all!
The real truth is that around 80% of those infected with HCV received ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL from the review. The announcement resulted in dismay, devastation and extreme anger for those affected ñ certainly not ëclosureí. By 2011, the payment awarded back in 2004 equated to around £1.75 per day* since time of infection ñ a cruel insult. (*Calculation based on 30 years since time of infection therefore even less for those infected before 1980.)
In October 2011 six of the sttage 1 victims met with Anne Milton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health to plead for justice. Ms Milton promised a further consultation with an expert panel.
New campaign group
On 8 February 2012, the Contaminated Blood Campaign group was launched.
Since then much work has been done to try and persuade the Department of Health that the 2 stage criteria that excludes all except those with advanced liver disease from eligibility for ongoing payments should be abolished. The campaign team have attended various meetings in the Department of Health and the House of Commons as well as meeting with the Chair of the Expert Panel on contaminated blood, Professor Brian Gazzard
The campaign has gradually gained momentum since 2012 and attracted hundreds of followers. One of the campaign team, a constituent of the Prime Minister, was promised that it would be sorted out in November 2014, but the PM did nothing, using the excuse that they are waiting for the Penrose Inquiry to report. Some movement has been achieved in that Alistair Burt MP, along with the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood securred a backbench debate in January 2015 where a large number of MPs pledged support for the campaign.
CBC did a lot of work to demand improvements in the Caxton Foundation, which has been damned by many, including the APPG, and declared unfit for purpose. CBC persuaded the Caxton Foundation to form a partnership group so that beneficiaries could have a say in improving the organisation, but Caxton simply ignore most of what the group members say. The number of registrants grew significantly in 2014 yet the DoH refused to increase funding, therefore the amount available to pay out in grants per person decreased significantly.