HC Deb 17 February 1992 vol 204 cc11-3W
Mr. Strang

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (I) how many non-haemophiliacs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have contracted HIV as a result of contaminated national health service blood/tissue transfers(a) remain alive, (b) have developed AIDS and remain alive and (c) developed AIDS and have since died;

(2) how many non-haemophiliacs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have contracted HIV infection as a result of national health service transfers of (a) blood, (b) blood products and (c) tissue; and how many of each of these groups became infected before the introduction of screening of donations in October 1985.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

There have been 61 reports in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of HIV infection in people who received blood in the United Kingdom. All of these reports related to the period prior to October 1985. In addition, there has been one report of HIV infection in a patient who received a tissue transfer after October 1985 from a donor who was subsequently found to be HIV positive.

The total number of infected people thought to be alive is 30.

The number of people reported with AIDS is 29, of whom 23 are known to have died.

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the total number of people who received national health service transfusions of blood contaminated with the HIV virus; how many have subsequently been diagnosed HIV positive; and how many have died.

Mr. Waldegrave

[pursuant to the reply, 14 November 1991, c. 656]: I have decided that the special provision already made for those with haemophilia and HIV is to be extended to those who have been infected with HIV as a result of national health service blood transfusion or tissue transfer in the United Kingdom. The payments will also apply to any of their spouses partners and children to whom their infection may have been passed on. The rates of payments are shown in the table. Similar help will be available throughout the United Kingdom.

The Government have never accepted the argument for a general scheme of no fault compensation for medical accidents, as such a scheme would be unworkable and unfair. That remains our position.

We made special provision for those with haemophilia and HIV because of their very special circumstances. It has been argued that this special provision should be extended to include those who have become infected with HIV through blood or tissue transfer within the United Kingdom. I have considered very carefully all the circumstances and the arguments which have been put to us. I have concluded that it would be right to recognise that this group, who share the tragedy of those with haemophilia in becoming infected with HIV through medical treatment within the United Kingdom, is also a very special case.

The circumstances of each infected transfusion or tissue recipient will need to be considered individually to establish that their treatment in the United Kingdom was the source of their infection.

A small expert panel is being set up to consider cases where necessary. I am pleased that Mr. Benet Hytner QC has agreed to chair this panel and I shall shortly appoint two medical assessors to assist in this work. Further detailed work needs to be done on the machinery for handling individual claims for these payments; but payments will be made as soon as possible.

Parliamentary authority for making these payments will be sought through supply estimates and the confirming Appropriation Act. On the basis of the reported cases the estimated cost could be £12 million. However, I cannot be certain about the cost, as numbers of valid claims are not known.

I share the great sympathy which is universally felt for the blood and tissue recipients who have tragically become infected through their treatment. Money cannot compen-sate for this, but I hope that the provision we are making will provide some measure of financial security for those affected and their families.

The amounts of payments to be made to the HIV infected NHS blood and tissue transfer recipients are:
—Infant 41,500 each
—Single adult 43,500 each
—Married adult without dependant children 52,000 each
—Infected person with dependant children 80,500 each
and to the infected spouses and/or children of the above:
Adult infected spouse or partner of the blood or tissue recipient 23,500 each
Infected child who is married 23,500 each
Unmarried infected child 21,500 each

These are the amounts paid to people with HIV and haemophilia.

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