Compensation worth millions of pounds is to be paid to people who contracted hepatitis C through contaminated blood, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has announced.

In what has been termed the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, 4,670 haemophiliacs were given blood contaminated with the hepatitis C virus in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2009, the former Labour government offered no more than a review for those who had contracted hepatitis C, of

whom there are around 2,000 still alive.

Yesterday, Mr Lansley announced additional compensation worth between £49m and £78m in catch-up payments and £12m a year therafter to patients who contracted the virus in England.