Here we post another Forum entry from an SIBF member. The sentiments conveyed do not necessarily represent the Forum’s Trustees, staff or members’ views as a whole but are included to promote debate, discussion and engagement with current affairs which may have a bearing on future actions.
“The Clinical Review Group’s work will soon be drawing to an end. At some point thereafter the Scottish Government (no doubt on the advice of civil servant policy officers and finance types) will come back with a response that will largely determine the support which state-infected people and their families will get. This may well determine the financial security – or otherwise – of infected/affected people for the rest of their lives. In turn this will largely determine the associated quality of life of patient-victims, similarly for the rest of our lives. So what do we think is a ‘fair and full’ level of support that adequately addresses all those years (past and future) of pain, loss, missed opportunities and health detriments?
As a discussion starter, here is my set of expectations to satisfy the ‘moral responsibility’ of Government to help people whose lives have been irreversibly damaged by the State:
– full equality of support for infected people (ie. the removal of the bogus Stage 1/Stage 2 distinction since the overlap in detriments is so great as to make the separation mostly meaningless and any attempt to assess differentiation inherently unfair)
– (this includes, specifically) annual payments to all infected people at the level of the Scottish annual mean wage (more correctly known as median gross full-time salary)
– (this also includes) doing away with the Stage 1/Stage 2 distinction as it applies to widows/widowers so that all widows/widowers are treated the same (ie. regular payments at 75% of the amounts paid to living infected people, after an initial year’s payment at 100%)
– tying the annual payments to any changes in the annual Scottish median wage (including the potential for inflationary falls as well as rises)
– making provision for access to insurance and other financial products/services that is backed by the state so that a more ‘level playing-field’ is achieved
– making ensured provision for the best available treatments and interventions across the range of health and social care provision (including anti-viral treatments, psychological support, etc.)
– on-going grant-aided support for patient representative groups to allow a collective voice that continues to help people on a peer-led basis and holds public bodies to account
– recognising that budget decision for the current year may be problematic to overcome, therefore accepting an interim arrangement of no less than 75% annual payments for former Stage 1 Scheme members that will build towards the full (undistinguished) level of payments within two financial years
– enshrining these support measures in statute to protect against a change of approach under a different political agenda.
So, what do others think? What is the minimum you will accept?”