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Stirling MP Backs Infected Blood Compensation Scheme

Published:

Categories: Health, NHS, UK Government (Westminster)

Amendment for Scheme Passes by Four Votes

Stirling MP Alyn Smith has welcomed the passing of a vital amendment regarding compensation for the victims of the infected blood scandal – as attempts at further delay by the UK Government were defeated by four votes.

The amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill called on Ministers to set up a body to run the compensation scheme within three months of a new bill becoming law. The vote was passed by 246 votes to 242 after 22 Conservative Members rebelled from the three-line whip, delivering a devastating blow to the Prime Minister’s authority.

Ministers will now have to set up a body to run the scheme within three months of a new bill becoming law, once the proposed legislation has made its way through the House of Lords.

Interim payments of £100,000 to each of the 4,000 surviving victims and bereaved partners has already been agreed by the Government, yet it has so far resisted setting up a full scheme until the infected blood inquiry had concluded – despite the Chair Sir Brian Langstaff calling for full compensation immediately.

Studies estimate up to 30,000 people were given contaminated blood products in the UK, throughout the 1970s-80s. More than 3,000 died after NHS blood transfusions or treatment made with contaminated blood resulted in the spread of HIV or Hepatitis C in recipients. It is estimated one person affected by the scandal dies every four days.

Alyn Smith MP said:

‘I was glad to vote for this important amendment alongside SNP colleagues, and indeed Members from across the House. This scandal has engulfed the lives of countless people, and it’s only right they and their bereaved loved ones are compensated. Money won’t make up for the years of hurt and loss, but it is a step in the right direction. It’s shameful the UK Tories tried to block this commonsense amendment – and I commend the 22 Tories who found their conscience and voted for the amendment.

‘This is just the latest in a long line of gaffes from the Prime Minister. On a day where his Government should have been focused on the needs of victims, he’s instead created another mess to preoccupy headlines. Victims of the infected blood scandal and their families deserve better, the country deserves better – and the sooner we can vote out this rotten bunch, the better.’