SIBF’s response to the BBC

Scottish Government decision on Contaminated Blood
18th March 2016
Press release – Scottish Government announcement
18th March 2016
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SIBF’s response to the BBC

Studio Microphone

On the day of the Scottish Government’s announcement, Philip Dolan appeared on BBC Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive programme where he raised the issue of repeated inaccurate reporting of the facts.

Here is the full transcript of BBC Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive interview with Scottish Infected Blood Forum’s Convener Philip Dolan MBE, Friday 18th March 2016.

BBC Newsdrive

“The Scottish government is to give some people infected by the Contaminated Blood product scandal of the 70s, 80s and early 90s extra financial support.  Around 3,000 Scots were infected with hepatitis C and HIV after receiving blood transfusions on the NHS.  Those infected with hepatitis C will get £27,000 a year, those with HIV £37,000. Well let’s speak now to Philip Dolan the Convener of the Scottish Infected Blood Forum. Good evening

PD: Good evening.

BBC: What do you make of this?

PD: Well first I welcome the Government’s decision to make an announcement about making provisions. This has been a long battle and it has been going now 17 years of this current Scottish Government [sic Scottish Parliament].

However the statement  that has just been made by yourself in fact is not accurate. What the Government appears to have  announced is that people who are deemed to be in ‘stage 2’, that is they have developed cirrhosis or gone on to develop carcinoma, they will receive £27,000 annually.  The majority of people, that is {over} 80% of people who were infected with hepatitis C from the NHS, will only receive £30,000, a one-off payment, which is in fact 13 years overdue. Lord Ross recommended a total of £50,000 in 2003, However Malcolm Chisholm when he was Minister made an ex-gratia payment of £20,000, so in actual fact the £30,000 that is going to go to those people who are at stage 1, that is they have got hepatitis C and for other problems, will only now receive the £30,000 which they didn’t get 13 years ago.

BBC:  Am I right in saying that everybody who has stage 1 goes onto stage 2?

PD: Not everybody goes on, and hopefully wouldn’t, but many people in stage 1 are very, very ill.  The fact that they have not been diagnosed by some medical person that they have developed cirrhosis or liver cancer doesn’t take away from the fact that many of them have had to give up employment, they are unable to continue work because of the stigma  associated with hepatitis C and the impact it has. The impact isn’t just on the individual, the impact is on the families of these people, and in some cases people have found they’ve had to give up their job because the attitude of some of their fellow workers, thinking ‘you must be a drug addict’ but in fact you got it from going to a hospital to be cured…

BBC:… on the NHS.  But as well as these lump sums and these payments, are we not right in thinking that there’s going to be an Assistance Grant Scheme and that will amount to some £1 million a year, that’s quite a lot of money?

PD: Well we are still waiting for the details of that. I was part of the Government’s Review Group and we had various disagreements and discussions during this, but at the moment the facilities of a scheme for support only seem to apply to those people who are in stage 2, we welcome the suggestion that this may be opened up to other people but again that is limited.  The people at stage 2, we’re not taking away from them because they are ill etc. but they get £27,000 and when they die the proposal is that they’re widows or partner will then get 75% of that for the rest of their partner’s life.  But if you are in stage 1 and you are very ill and die, there is no facility for those people, and that represents 80% of those people who got hepatitis C from contaminated blood.

BBC: It sounds as if, notwithstanding the fact that you welcomed this announcement today and give praise to I think the Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison’s support and the way she has talked to you in the past, you’ve got a lot of reservations; is the door still open to talk more to the Scottish Government?

PD: Well we hope it will be, we’ve certainly had a lot of discussions, certainly Shona Robison has been very helpful, but so has her predecessor Nicola Sturgeon.  And I think there are many MSPs who have been supportive over many years but the trouble was when it came to crunch vote,  when Labour were in control, somebody seemed to have ‘got at them’ and they voted against the things that they had signed up for.

BBC: So from your point of view the fight goes on?

PD: The fight will go on and we hope to get some sort of support and as I say we welcome it. What we don’t know is that while that’s been announced, how long will it take to implement this suggestion, for instance for people to get this other part of the £50,000 that they didn’t get 13 years ago, the opportunity for when you’re going to get it, will it be this year or in 10 years’ time? There is no information about that and again the implementation of the larger sums of money for those people who have gone into stage 2, when that’s going to happen?  One thing we do welcome is that the Scottish Government has decided  that the funds called the Skipton Fund and the Caxton Fund and Macfarlane Trust, will be transferred to Scotland and therefore Scotland will take the  responsibility …

BBC: … so decision making will be here rather than …

PD: …and that we welcome.

BBC: Okay. Philip Dolan, Convener of the Scottish Infected Blood Forum, thanks very much.

PD: Thank you.”

 

 

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