HC Deb 02 March 1990 vol 168 cc367-8W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he will review compensation payments for HIV patients who contracted the AIDS virus as a direct result of blood transfusions made during the course of surgery; what are the latest estimates of the number of patients involved; what would be the total cost if they were treated on a par with haemophiliac HIV victims; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

The additional ex-gratia payment made to the Macfarlane Trust enabling lump sum payments of £20,000 to each haemophiliac with HIV was not compensation.

It recognised the wholly exceptional circumstances which haemophiliacs and their families face, that their insurance, employment and mortgage prospects were already affected by their serious disability, and the hereditary nature of haemophilia can mean that more than one member of a family may be affected. The situation of someone who has contracted HIV as the result of a blood transfusion is, therefore, not directly comparable.

The position at the end of January 1990, as reported to the communicable disease surveillance centre, is that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland there have been 18 cases of AIDS in people known to have been transfused in the United Kingdom, of whom 13 are known to he dead (not necessarily directly as a result of AIDS). The comparable figure on HIV seropositive transfused in the United Kingdom was 17.

Compensation is a matter for the courts.