The contaminated blood scandal was the biggest disaster in the history of the NHS. We can never forget all those who contracted HIV and hepatitis C nor their families. For them, this is not an historical issue, it is an ongoing tragedy which continues to have a devastating impact on their lives, including my constituent David Fielding.
I am pleased that the report of the Penrose inquiry was published yesterday, after six years. It runs to five volumes and 1,800 pages, and it documents the tragedy, how it came about, and the decisions that were made at the time.
However, like those who are affected I am deeply disappointed that the report makes only one recommendation. I know for that reason, yesterday was a very difficult day for my constituent David Fielding and others affected by this tragedy.
On Wednesday The Prime Minister’s apologised on behalf of the United Kingdom Government. This represents a significant moment in the long struggle for recognition of the scale of the tragedy, and it is very welcome, but we still need a proper system to support and compensate all those who are affected.
The All-party parliamentary group on Haemophilia and Contaminated blood published a report a few weeks ago showing that the current system is simply not meeting the needs of those whom it is meant to help, and is not fit for purpose.
I hope that whichever party forms the next Government, swift action will be taken to provide a permanent support and compensation settlement. It must be specifically stipulated that the £25 million which was announced should go directly to the beneficiaries, rather than the trusts and funds deciding what to do with it.
Yesterday I asked the minister: My constituent David Fielding has suffered as a result of this and his whole life has been ruined. I ask this Government and any successive Government to compensate these victims properly.
Jane Ellison, The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health response:
As I have said, those are matters for the next Government to consider. Compensation was not in the terms of reference of the Penrose inquiry, but it was important, given the extent of the inquiry, that we waited for it to report. Unfortunately, it has reported too late for us to be able to make substantial progress in this Parliament, but I am quite certain that the next Government, held to account by the next Parliament, will return to these matters as a priority.