SIBF Convener John Rice and Haemophilia Scotland’s Chair Bill Wright, welcome members of both organisations to their first Joint member meeting on Saturday 8th April in Glasgow.
The joint event marked more than one milestone in the campaign in Scotland. Not just the first time both organisations invited their common membership to discuss developments, but the Scottish scheme (Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme – SIBSS) launched the previous Monday. The joint meeting therefore had a lot to discuss.
The discussion topics included:
Leone Bissett, the daughter of the late Dave Bissett, a former trustee of the Forum, gave a special presentation on the progress made so far for the Contaminated Blood Memorial Fund.
Whilst the Scottish Government did not agree to all our concerns, they did listen and acknowledged that the scheme as launched just now will not be ‘cast in stone’ but will respond to the level of need exhibited by applicants on a periodic and continual basis. To this end the scheme will be reviewed formally on an annual basis, with some reviews of particular parts of it being carried out on a 6 monthly basis. This both organisations welcomed.
There is still much work to do to align the scheme to the evidenced needs of applicants, including stage 1/stage 2 thresholds, stage 1 widows and ‘stage 0’s’. Both organisations acknowledged the openness and willingness of Scottish Government officials to engage with us and we look forward to further constructive meetings and dialogue as the months progress on the SIBSS’s first full year of operation.
Both John and Bill would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting, some at short notice, and on a very sunny Saturday too, to listen to and participate in the discussions. The meeting was regarded as a resounding success by all those attending and we hope to follow this up later in the year to coincide with further developments in this third key year of core funding. More detail on the meeting discussions will be provided in our forthcoming member newsletter.