Support for those who received infected NHS blood and their families
Financial Review Implementation
On 18 March 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).
Since 3 April 2017, the new Scottish Infected Blood Support scheme is 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 is 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 beneficiaries of the Scottish scheme, the Scottish Government funds:
Increased annual payments of £27,000 for those with advanced Hepatitis C (formerly referred to as 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 and had advanced (Stage 2) Hepatitis C or HIV infection. These payments will be 75 per cent of the amount the infected person would have been entitled to if they were alive.
An additional lump sum of £30,000, which has been paid to those who are infected with chronic Hepatitis C (formerly known as Stage 1 of the Skipton Fund). This brings 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.
- Increasing Scottish Government funding for a Support and Assistance grants scheme for those infected and their families.
Clinical Review of the Impacts of Chronic Hepatitis C
The Financial Review also recommended that there should be an evidence-based review of the health impacts caused by Hepatitis C to examine whether new criteria should be established, based on broader health impacts caused by the virus. As a result, in 2017, the Scottish Government asked Professor David Goldberg of Health Protection Scotland to carry out an evidence-based review. He brought together a group involving expert clinicians and representatives of those affected. The clinical review group has sent its report and recommendations to the Scottish Government.
The Penrose Inquiry and the UK Inquiry on Infected Blood
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 (the Penrose Inquiry) can be found on the Penrose Inquiry website.
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.
Separately, in July 2017, the UK Government announced a UK-wide inquiry into infected blood. This inquiry began in May 2018 and is being chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff. The inquiry does cover Scotland, although it is not expected to duplicate the areas already considered by Lord Penrose in relation to Scotland. Further information is available on the Inquiry’s website.