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).
The existing UK schemes (see links below to their websites) made a statement regarding timescales for the implementation of the interim arrangements. Following our work with colleagues in the UK Department of Health and the Welsh and Northern Irish Governments and the UK schemes to agree changes to payment arrangements, the Skipton Fund and MFET have now made all the interim payment increases.
Any eligible beneficiaries with chronic Hepatitis C (at Stage 1) who received a letter from the Skipton Fund regarding the £30,000 lump sum payment, but have not yet completed and returned their form should do so as soon as possible. Any completed forms returned up until 23 December 2016 should have been paid. Unfortunately, if you did not return your form until after Friday 23 December 2016, you will not be able to receive your payment until April 2017 – the Scottish Government has asked the Skipton Fund to let anyone who returns their form after 23 December know that their form will be passed to NHS National Services Scotland for payment as early as possible in April 2017 under the new Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme.
Separately, Scottish Ministers have asked NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) to set up a new Scottish Infected Blood Support scheme - the scheme is expected to act as the single scheme providing targeted support for those infected and their direct families from April 2017. Further details of the new scheme and how to contact them will be available here soon.
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. Additional guidance on what support you may be eligible for will be available on the NSS website shortly.
For those who are allocated to the Scottish scheme, the Scottish Government commits to:
Increasing annual payments to £27,000 for those with advanced Hepatitis C (at Stage 2 of the Skipton Fund) or HIV and increasing them to £37,000 for those 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 have already received £20,000. Given the additional impact of co-infection with Hepatitis C and HIV, the co-infected people currently at Stage 1 will automatically move to Stage 2 and receive a £50,000 lump sum payment.
- Increasing Scottish Government funding for a Support and Assistance grants scheme for those infected and their families to up to £1 million per year.
Background on the Financial Review
The financial review assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the current 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 existing UK-wide ex gratia payment schemes - these organisations are The Eileen Trust, The Macfarlane Trust, MFET, The Skipton Fund and The Caxton Foundation.
The Scottish Government will also consider each of the Group's proposals for further work that should be undertaken in future. In particular, once the new Scottish scheme is established, we will 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 and would implement them shortly.
Current UK support schemes for people affected by infected blood
The Skipton Fund is a UK-wide ex gratia payment scheme to make payments to certain people who were infected with hepatitis C through treatment with NHS blood or blood products prior to September 1991 and other persons eligible for payment in accordance with the scheme's provisions:
The Caxton Foundation is a registered charity that was set up in 2011 to provide financial and other assistance to individuals who have been infected with the hepatitis C virus as a consequence of receiving NHS treatment using infected blood, blood products or tissue.
The Scottish Government fully funds all Skipton Fund and Caxton Foundation costs for qualifying persons within Scotland:
Macfarlane Trust and Eileen Trust
The financial support schemes for those infected by HIV through NHS blood or blood products are currently funded by the UK Government: