Skipton beneficiaries resident in Scotland, who were infected in the other UK nations

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Skipton beneficiaries resident in Scotland, who were infected in the other UK nations

The SIBF has acquired information compiled on request by Nick Fish of the Skipton Fund for those resident in Scotland who received Hepatitis C from infected blood and blood products outside of Scotland, in either English, Welsh or Northern Irish hospitals/clinics.

This data based on last known addresses held by the Skipton Fund on its database as of May 2017. According to Nick Fish, the Fund does not always know if someone is still alive, so the figures above cannot be 100% accurate, but it gives a good idea of the rough numbers involved.

Among other things, this tells us there are approximately 9 people living and resident in Scotland who cannot get on the Scottish scheme as they are deemed to be allocated to the ‘English’ scheme based on their ascribed country of infection. It also tells us that a further 7 people in this ‘category’ have already died.

This means 9 people are losing out on the enhanced Scottish financial support payments by approximately £13,000 p.a. (£27,000 minus £14,000).

We have been informed by one member who appealed against being allocated to the ‘English’ scheme rather than the Scottish scheme, thus they were one one of the 9 who formally appealed the decision and process. They were rebutted by procedural explanations, among other things.

Whilst acknowledging the Scottish Government’s positive action for state infected people, this member felt that the decision to not allow moving them to the Scottish scheme went against ‘natural justice’. They felt the current criteria does not produce fair outcomes and decisions for the small number of people sharing those circumstances. Clearly those 9 people will have been infected by the HCV virus before devolution (pre 1999), within the UK, from the UK NHS. As such they argue that they are being penalised, and the community divided, by arbitrary rules that do not reflect the substance of their circumstances; instead they say officials seem to be sticking rigidly to the ‘form’ of the rules rather than the ‘spirit’ of them.

If new rules were amended to allow those 9 infected people into the Scottish scheme, they would receive almost double what they are getting at the moment, a substantial uplift.

The member requested that the decision be looked at again to avoid dividing victims up on an unfair and unreasonable basis.

Their request was rebutted, citing procedural and devolved administration difficulties.

The person was told one of the reasons was that claimant tourism may occur. We agree with the member and consider this could be circumvented by the implementation of reasonable controls. We understand these are not referred to in the response the member received from the Scottish Government.

However, it is unclear what constraints the prior agreement with other devolved administrations may be placing on the Scottish Government in this regard.

The member asked the Scottish Government to show leadership and consider the further unfairness and injustice that they, and a very small number of others still alive, are faced with.

So, do you feel the current rules reflect and provide a fair outcome for these people? Do you agree with the decision? Please tell us how you feel about this.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    This seems so unfair. How hard would it be to make a strategic devolutionary decision and just treat these poor folks like the rest of us? I must admit I get dismayed by the penny-pinching aversion to spending our money on people who are so obviously deserving. Let’s always remember, our infections were not self-inflicted but resulted from our in good faith trust in the medical establishment who we expected to make us better, not worse. Sadly, in the context of Penrose, the untenable Stage 1/Stage 2 distinction, the lack of genuine backdating, the Stage 0 (missing medical records) folks, the widows, the lack of a truly “full and fair” support package, then the fight must go on. We need to stand together and not let ourselves be divided by preferential allocations based on scurrilous and unjustified criteria that compound past misjudgements.

  2. Mary Mccluskey says:

    I am one of the Scottish victims who contracted Hep C in England when I lived there in the 80s. I was born in Scotland and have lived here the majority of my life. I was finally told about having the virus in 2000 in Scotland although they knew before this and I was not aware they were testing for Hepc. Two cover ups. One in England who destroyed my records (letter to prove this) and one in Scotland who didn’t inform me for at least a year that they had been testing me for Hep C .I have appealed the decision not allowing me to qualify for the Scottish scheme 3 times but have been refused even though this was pre-devolution. So why is this new inquiry to be UK based

    Regards
    Mary

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