HC Deb 09 July 2002 vol 388 cc910-1W
Stephen Hesford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on making financial arrangements for sufferers, and their families, of Hepatitis C caused by infected blood products. [64262]

Ms Blears

We deeply regret that so many people with haemophilia were infected with hepatitis C through blood products. But the fact is that as soon as a technology became available to make blood products free from hepatitis C the national health service introduced it. There is therefore no legal liability to justify compensation for people with haemophilia and hepatitis C.

This Government and their predecessor have held that compensation is only paid to patients when the NHS has been at fault and that an exception to this rule is not justified in the case of haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C.

We met the haemophilia society and members of the all party group on haemophilia on 12 June to discuss the `Report of the Hepatitis C Working Party' which was produced for the haemophilia society and published by them on 17 June. We will respond to this report when we have given it our full consideration.

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