Support for those who received infected NHS blood and their families
Financial Review Implementation
On March 18, 2016 the Scottish Government accepted all the key financial support recommendations in the Final Report of the Financial Review Group, established in Scotland to undertake a review of the existing UK-wide financial support schemes for individuals infected with Hepatitis C and HIV through NHS blood and blood products. This considered what support should be available for individuals and families receiving payments from Scotland (where the person was infected in Scotland).
From 3 April 2017, the new Scottish Infected Blood Support scheme is now being managed by NHS National Services Scotland. The scheme is now the single scheme providing targeted support for those infected and their direct families.
The Scottish Government has published the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme 2017 – this sets out details of who will be eligible for the new scheme in accordance with the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005. The Scottish Government has also published an amending scheme document, which makes some small changes to the original scheme, particularly to allow long-term cohabiting partners of some infected people who have died to qualify for annual payments in the same way as a widow, widower or civil partner. Additional guidance on what support you may be eligible for is available on the NSS website.
For those who are allocated to the Scottish scheme, the Scottish Government commits to:
Increased annual payments of £27,000 for those with advanced Hepatitis C (at Stage 2 of the Skipton Fund) or HIV and £37,000 for all those who are co-infected with both Hepatitis C and HIV.
Providing annual payments to widows and widowers of those who have died as a result of their advanced (Stage 2) Hepatitis C or HIV infection. These payments will be 75 per cent of the amount the infected person would be entitled to under the new arrangements if they were alive.
Providing an additional lump sum of £30,000 to all those who are infected with chronic Hepatitis C at Stage 1. This will bring the total lump sum all those infected in Scotland have received to at least £50,000, given that those with chronic infection previously received £20,000. Most of those with chronic Hepatitis C should already have received this £30,000 payment, but if you have not, please contact the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme in the first instance.
- Increasing Scottish Government funding for a Support and Assistance grants scheme for those infected and their families.
Background on the Financial Review
The financial review assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the previous UK-wide ex gratia payment schemes for HIV/Hepatitis C infection via NHS treatment and any unmet need which could be addressed by an improved scheme(s).
An independent chair was appointed – Ian Welsh, Chief Executive of the Alliance (Health and Social Care Alliance) Scotland - and recommendations were made to Scottish Ministers in December 2015 on the future of the UK-wide ex gratia payment schemes.
The Scottish Government will also consider each of the Group's proposals for further work that should be undertaken in future. In particular, we will shortly take forward an evidence-based review of health impacts caused by Hepatitis C to examine whether new criteria should be established, based on broader health impacts caused by the virus. In addition, the operation of the new Scottish scheme will be subject to periodic review in consultation with the scheme's beneficiaries.
The Penrose Inquiry
The final report of the Scottish Public Inquiry into hepatitis C and HIV acquired infection from NHS treatment in Scotland with blood and blood products (Penrose Inquiry) can be found on the Penrose Inquiry website.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport made a Ministerial Statement on March 26 2015 as the Scottish Government's response to the report:
The Penrose Inquiry made a single recommendation that the Scottish Government should ensure that in order to help identify those who may be infected but not yet diagnosed, anyone who had received a blood transfusion prior to September 1991 should be offered a Hepatitis C test if they have not already had one. A short-life working group was set up by the Scottish Government to advise Ministers on how best to take this recommendation forward. It provided recommendations to Ministers in July 2016 and Ministers confirmed in September 2016 that they accepted the group’s three recommendations. These recommendations have now been implemented.