Contaminated blood inquiry: Government confirms plans to award billions of pounds in compensation

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw

The Government is going to appoint an independent reviewer to look into options for compensation for those affected by the contaminated blood scandal.

Up to 30,000 NHS patients contracted Hepatitis C, HIV and other deadly diseases after being given infected blood products during the 70s and 80s. 

Until now, no government has accepted liability, but a parliamentary review panel is to be set up to examine proposals for a compensation scheme.

2,400 people died as a result of the contaminated blood Credit: PA Images

Sadly more than 2,000 people have already died prematurely, many from the south, and among them dozens of boys who had haemophilia and attended the specialist Treloars school in Hampshire.

One of the biggest treatment centres was in Oxford. Clive Smith from The Haemophilia Society says many will want the government to get on with compensation procedures as quickly as possible.

Clive says: "If the inquiry recommends compensation then the government will be in position to get on with that as soon as possible.

"Any delay will mean people will go to their graves without knowing what will happen to their surviving relatives. The more people that can have the comfort of knowing their relatives will be looked after, the better."

Peter Wratten, from Ashford, died a decade ago after contracting hepatitis, as did both his brothers. His son Tim says someone must take responsibility. 

Tim says: "I just want that apology and someone to say 'we did wrong' instead of just keep lying.

"So, yeah, just that apology and accept that we were children and we never had social services, you know, where were they? Nobody seems to want to answer; where was our support?"

Sussex MP Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West, Con) has cautiously welcomed the announcement. He told ITV News Meridian: "It’s right, it’ll be welcomed, it’s late. It’s 31 years since I first started working with the Haemophilia Society to try to get proper recognition of the effect being contaminated with infected blood would have on people and their households."

The Chair of the Public Inquiry Sir Brian Langstaff has welcomed today's announcement that there will be an end to disparity in financial support across the four nations.

He says it will ease "the grinding hardship which far too many people have been condemned through no fault of their own."

Solicitor Des Collins is advising more than 1,500 people affected by the scandal. He said the announcement is "a step in the right direction". He added: "We expect the compensation consultation to have been completed and the framework agreed in principle by the time the Infected Blood Inquiry reports next summer".