Scottish Health Minister Moves to Compensate Patients Who Contracted Hepatitis C from Transfusions
Scottish Health Minister Susan Deacon has instructed lawyers from the National Health Service to begin negotiating settlements with patients who contracted hepatitis C from blood transfusions, BBC News reports. The Scottish Executive had previously refused to offer compensation, claiming there was "no negligence in the case." However, BBC News reports that Scottish officials reversed their stance after the English High Court last year ruled that British patients who contracted the disease through transfusions should be compensated under the Consumer Protection Act because they had received a "defective product" (BBC News, 8/29). In March, 114 individuals who contracted hepatitis C from blood transfusions after March 1, 1988, won judgements of between 10,000 and 210,000 pounds each (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/28). BBC News reports that Scottish NHS lawyers will start talks with patients whose cases "were directly analogous to those covered by the ruling in England." The settlements will only apply to approximately 20 of the more than 300 Scottish patients who contracted hepatitis C from blood transfusions in the 1980s, as only those who contracted the disease after March 1, 1988, and raised actions under the Consumer Protection Act are eligible for compensation. Deacon said she decided to pursue settlements "to avoid people in the same situation in Scotland facing the cost and distress of fighting their cases through the courts" (BBC News, 8/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.