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Annual payments for contaminated blood bereaved

PUBLISHED

People whose spouse or partner died as a result of the contaminated blood scandal are to receive financial help. Annual payments of up to £33,500 will be given to those whose loved one died after contracting HIV or hepatitis C having been given infected blood.

About 5,000 people, including 99 from Northern Ireland, were infected by what has been described as "the worst scandal in the history of the NHS".

The health minister said those who had been bereaved had not been forgotten.

Robin Swann added: "I have listened to their experiences of how contaminated blood has impacted on their lives and the sacrifices they have had to make.

"I sincerely hope this annual financial support will provide some long-term financial certainty as well as recognition for those bereaved through contaminated blood."

The contaminated blood scandal resulted in people who had haemophilia being treated with blood infected with hepatitis C or HIV in the 1970s and 1980s. 

At the time the UK was struggling to keep up with demand for the Factor VIII blood clotting treatment, so supplies were imported from the US. But much of the human blood plasma used to make it came from donors such as prison inmates and drug-users who sold their blood. Those groups were at higher risk of blood-borne viruses.

Victims have campaigned for decades, saying the risks were never explained to them and the scandal was covered up.

An ongoing public inquiry has been hearing harrowing stories from people across the UK about how lives had been destroyed by the blood.

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Source: BBC News, 1 March 2021

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