HC Deb 05 December 1995 vol 268 cc130-1
8. Mr. John Marshall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about making an ex gratia payment to haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C. [2179]

Mr. Horam

Representations include seven earlier parliamentary questions, and five early-day motions. There was also an Adjournment debate initiated by my hon. Friend on 11 July and a short debate in another place. Ministers have received 291 letters.

Mr. Marshall

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his promotion to the Department of Health. Since his promotion, has he had a chance to read the impact study produced by the Haemophilia Society, which has been made available to his Department, which demonstrates the physical, financial and emotional hardship suffered by haemophiliacs? As the cause of that hardship, infected blood products, is the same as that which passed on the HIV virus to haemophiliacs, should not the Government's reaction be the same?

Mr. Horam

First, I congratulate the Haemophilia Society on its sensible review and my hon. Friend on his relentless questioning over many years, which has already achieved quite staggering results. I have not yet read the full review, but I shall do so as a matter of priority and I shall obviously take its conclusions most carefully into account.

Mr. Mudie

Does the Minister realise the stress caused to the families of individuals, such as a 13-year-old youngster in my constituency, who not only have to cope with haemophilia but have now been totally devastated by having to cope with the effects of hepatitis C? Please may we have an early and sympathetic decision to bring some hope to those families?

Mr. Horam

I assure the hon. Gentleman that the problem will always receive sympathy from me.