Man gets review of blood payout

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A composer who contracted HIV and hepatitis C following NHS treatment with contaminated blood products yesterday won the right to a judicial review over compensation.

Andrew March, 36, a haemophiliac who was infected with HIV and hepatitis C when he was nine, won a legal challenge against the Government's decision in May 2009 not to pay compensation to affected individuals at levels recommended by an official inquiry into the disaster.

A total of 4,670 haemophiliacs were given blood contaminated with the hepatitis C virus and 1,200 were also unwittingly infected with HIV in the 1970s and 1980s. The blood products came from organisations in the US, whose paid donors included injecting drug users and prison inmates.

Last May the then health minister, Dawn Primarolo, announced an increase in compensation for those infected with HIV, of whom 360 remain alive, of £12,800 a year to cover increased living costs. But she offered a review only in five years for those who had contracted hepatitis C, of whom there are about 2,000 still alive.

Mr March, who once said he "felt he was poisonous" because of the viruses he was carrying, said yesterday: "We hope that the Government will now consider the whole issue of compensating those so tragically affected by the contaminated blood disaster, instead of making token, derisory, ex-gratia payments."

However, Mr Justice Holman warned that "no one should leave this courtroom with a false optimism" that the decision about compensation would be changed.

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