It is estimated that about 3,000 people in Scotland were infected with hepatitis C through NHS blood or blood products in the 1970s through to 1991. Some were also infected with HIV in the early 1980s.
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.
On 29 July 2022, Sir Brian Langstaff adopted an interim Infected Blood Inquiry report. This followed consideration of recommendations made by Sir Robert Francis KC on a potential compensation framework for infected blood victims. In the report, he recommended that an interim payment of £100,000 should be paid to all existing members of UK infected blood support schemes, including the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS), as well as to any new members who join the scheme until such time as any final compensation scheme is put in place after the Infected Blood Inquiry reports in 2023. As a result, on behalf of the UK Government, payments are being made to all SIBSS beneficiaries at the end of October.
Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme
The scheme came into force on 1 April 2017 as a result of the Scottish Financial Review Group report on financial support. The scheme was set up to provide support and assistance for those infected with Hepatitis C, HIV, or both, as a result of NHS treatment. The scheme is managed by NHS National Services Scotland.
A consolidated scheme document is available for background only to show the Scheme with all changes made since 2017, this summarises changes made by amending scheme documents over time:
- the original SIBSS scheme document came into force in April 2017
- in September 2017, some small changes to the original scheme were made, which included allowing long-term cohabiting partners of infected people who have died to qualify for annual payments in the same way as a widow, widower or civil partner
- in December 2018, the changes recommended in the clinical review report, an evidence-based review commissioned to examine the health impacts caused by chronic Hepatitis C infection, were implemented
- payments were increased in line with inflation (based on the CPI (Consumer Price Index) rate of inflation in September each year) were made in April 2020, April 2021, April 2022 and April 2023
- following the UK Government announcement of 25 March 2021, a short statement on what this announcement meant for SIBSS beneficiaries was published and subsequently changes to the scheme document were brought in in June 2021. These changes aimed to bring greater parity on payment levels between the four infected blood support schemes in the UK
- in March 2023, the Principal Scheme was amended to allow for backdated payments for those transferring late from the Skipton Fund Limited
More information on SIBSS and psychological support
Information on eligibility and how to apply, as well as sources of additional support, is available on the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme section of the NHS National Services Scotland website.
If you are infected or affected by infected blood and feel you might benefit from psychological support, please contact the Scottish Infected Blood Psychology Service. They can provide support in person, by phone or online.