Hepatitis victims lose battle for extra cash

Thursday 21 May 2009 00:00
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Haemophiliacs who contracted HIV from infected blood will see payments they receive from the Government double but those infected with hepatitis C will get no extra cash, ministers have announced.

Some 4,670 haemophiliacs who received blood transfusions in the 1970s and 80s were infected with hepatitis C, of whom 1,243 were also infected with HIV. For years the NHS used blood from the US to treat haemophiliacs. It was often collected from paid "skid row" donors such as prison inmates who were more likely to have HIV and hepatitis. Nearly 2,000 people have died as a result of exposure to the tainted blood.

Earlier this year Lord Archer of Sandwell issued a string of recommendations after a two-year inquiry. Lord Archer condemned the Government's response as "deeply disquieting". He branded the new funding for patients with HIV "paltry" and said the failure to help those with hepatitis C was lacking in compassion.

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