Scottish Members of Parliament Call For Blanket Compensation for Those Infected With Hepatitis C through Contaminated Blood Products
As expected, the Scottish Parliament's health committee on Tuesday issued a report calling on the Scottish executive to compensate all persons infected with hepatitis C through contaminated blood transfusions, "regardless of whether negligence can be proven," the Scotsman reports (Scott, Scotsman, 10/3). An estimated 300 Scots contracted the virus through blood transfusions before the National Health Service instituted blood screening procedures in the early 1990s. The executive previously said that there was "no negligence" on the part of the government and "refused" to offer compensation. But last year the English High Court ruled that the government must compensate 114 people in England who contracted the disease through contaminated blood, "pav[ing] the way" for the Scottish reversal. Scottish Health Minister Susan Deacon has ordered NHS lawyers to begin negotiating settlements with those who contracted the disease from transfusions after March 1988 and sought legal compensation under the Consumer Protection Act (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/3). The committee, which gave the executive 12 months to set up the compensation scheme, was "persuaded by the 'moral' case for financial and practical assistance," according to convener Margaret Smith. However, Philip Dolan, chair of the Hemophilia Society in Scotland, said he was "disappointed" that the committee did not recommend a full independent inquiry (Scotsman, 10/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.