Review group recommendations welcomed.
Health Secretary Shona Robison has welcomed the recommendations of a group set up to review the current financial support arrangements for those affected by infected NHS blood and blood products.
The set of proposals, published today, will be examined by the Scottish Government as it recommends reforms to the help and support available to people infected with hepatitis c and HIV in the 1970s and 80s.
The Financial Review Group was established by the Scottish Government following the Penrose Inquiry, published earlier this year. It was chaired by Ian Welsh of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.
Their proposals include increases to the current level of annual payments for those with advanced HCV and HIV, ongoing support for spouses of the deceased, increased lump sum payments to recognise chronic hepatitis C infection, and more flexible support and assistance grants.
The Scottish Government will use the recommendations to develop a new approach to financial support, which will be announced before World Haemophilia Day, April 17 2016.
Shona Robison said:
"I welcome these recommendations from the Financial Review Group. We will carefully consider all of them and come to a decision on a way forward in due course.
"A new and improved system of financial support for those infected in Scotland will be announced before World Haemophilia Day, next April.
"The Scottish Government acknowledges that many people feel the financial support for people who have suffered as a result of this tragedy has been insufficient. With this in mind, following the Penrose Inquiry I announced that we would work to reform and improve the support package on offer in Scotland.
"I established this financial review group so that families, carers, patient groups and people affected could have a direct say in what the new scheme looks like. I would like to thank them for their hard work in producing this set of recommendations, which have been informed directly by their own difficult experiences.
"The issue of infected blood is one of the most distressing chapters in the history of our health service. Indeed, it was something that happened not just in the UK, but in many countries around the world. We are committed to improve the help and support on offer for people who are still having to deal with the consequences of this tragedy."
The final recommendations of the Scottish Review of Financial Support Schemes can be read here:
Following publication of the Penrose Inquiry report on 25 March the Scottish Government announced the following actions:
- An immediate commitment to review and improve the financial support schemes on offer to the people affected, and their families, to be concluded before World Haemophilia Day in April 2016
- The Scottish Government will work with the rest of the UK nations in undertaking this review
- A reference group of patients and families set up to contribute to that review
- Funding for a pilot scheme for additional psychological support for those affected, rolled out wider if needed
- Continued Scottish Government funding for Haemophilia Scotland and Scottish Infected Blood Forum for at least the next three years
- Blood tests offered to anyone in Scotland who had a blood transfusion before 1991 and who has not already been tested for hepatitis C