Lord Archer's Report (Government Response)

Health written statement – made on 20th May 2009.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)

I am today publishing the Government's response to Lord Archer's independent inquiry report on NHS supplied contaminated blood and blood products.

I thank Lord Archer for his very thorough report. The Government have the greatest sympathy for those who have been affected, and deeply regret that these events came about following NHS treatment.

I have carefully considered the recommendations of Lord Archer, particularly relating to payments for infected individuals and their families. My full response details the action we are taking, but I want to highlight the following points.

The Macfarlane Trust and Eileen Trust provide ex gratia lump sum and discretionary payments to, respectively, haemophiliacs and others, who contracted HIV from infected blood and blood products, and their dependents. Over £45million has been paid out to date and there are currently around 600 beneficiaries.

I recognise Lord Archer's concern about financial relief. I therefore intend to increase the funding available to the Macfarlane and Eileen Trusts to allow them to move to a system of annual payments for infected individuals. The current average annual payment is around £6,400. I intend that in future payments of £12,800 per annum would be made to each infected individual, thus eliminating the need for them to make repeated detailed applications. I will also increase the funding available to the trusts so that the trustees can make higher payments to dependents. Payment to dependents will continue to be decided on a case-by-case basis—and left to the decision of the trustees.

The Skipton Fund provides lump sum payments to people infected with hepatitis C from infected blood and blood products. To date £97million has been paid out to over 4000 individuals.

The Skipton Fund will continue to make payments to people infected with hepatitis C and I commit to reviewing it in 2014 when the fund will have been in existence for ten years.

I understand Lord Archer's desire to establish a committee by statute to advise Government on the management of haemophilia in the United Kingdom. My view is that it is better to build on existing arrangements and expertise, rather than risk disrupting or duplicating those arrangements via legislation.

I have therefore decided instead to invite the Haemophilia Alliance, which comprises patients, haemophilia doctors, and others involved in their care, to meet with Government twice yearly. The Department of Health will host these meetings and representatives from the Health Departments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be invited to participate in this new formal arrangement.

I will also commit £100,000 per annum funding to the Haemophilia Society over the next five years.

Measures are already in place to help to prevent similar events from happening in the future. The Government receive expert advice on safety measures from the independent advisory committee on the safety of blood tissues and organs (SaBTO), and NHS Blood and Transplant is responsible for ensuring a safe and sufficient supply of blood to England and Wales. I will also ensure strong links are made between SaBTO and the Alliance.

The full response to Lord Archer's report has been placed in the Library of the House and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office.


Sirus The Virus
Posted on 21 May 2009 3:39 pm (Report this annotation)

What a mealy mouthed watered down piece of crap this is.

Did you actually read the report???

Do you understand what we've lived with for the last 20 odd years.

Whilst you lot are lining your own pockets and fidling expenses, people like me are living on the breadline with no way out.

All due to NHS treatment.

For once in your lives DO THE RIGHT THING

Mike Kenwright
Posted on 23 May 2009 6:29 pm (Report this annotation)

I am a victim of the Hepatitis C virus that was given to me from NHS treatment.
I sat in on all the meetings of the Archer Inquiry and listened to the horrific stories being re-lived by those infected.
On Thursday I listened as this most uncaring of government I have ever known rejected call for financial help for those infected with Hepatitis C and did nothing at all for the widows who have watched their loved one die over the years.
Is it true that Dawn Primorolo failed an application to join the Gestapo because she was to cruel.
And the nearest she could get was a job with this Labour government.
It is a shame none of these Mps have become a victim of these infections, but mind you they would have made up for it on their expenses.
After the revelations of how the public have been systematically ripped of by some MPs expenses. By agreeing with Lord Archers recommendations this would have been a start to building up public trust in the government, but instead this uncaring government have made this choice not only to anger the entire country with their expense claims, but they have now managed to infuriate the entire haemophilia community by leaving them to die without a second thought

Roll on the General election and the chance to have my say at the ballot box..

Mike Kenwright
Posted on 23 May 2009 11:16 pm (Report this annotation)

Dawn Primarolo states that "it was impossible to test for the Hepatitis C virus in haemophiliacs during the 70a & eirly 80s" What she dose not tell you is that the DOH and the government were warned on several occasions that there was a 10 fold risk of infection from imported clotting factor.
this risk was kept a secret from those like myself who were recieving this highly infected treatment.
All we were told by treating doctors was that there wqere no problems with the clotting factor we were having pumped into our vains.
I am sure that if I ahd been aware of the potential of infection with these killer viruses I would have thaughr twice about having such treatment.
I recomend the government and Dawn Primarolo go back and take a good look at Lord Archers report because this fight will continue untill the victims of this disaster are given the respect and help they all deserve.