The Scottish Government has fulfilled their promise to launch a Scottish Scheme for financial supports to those infected and affected by the Contaminated Blood disaster in Scotland.
The scheme, called the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (or SIBSS for short) was formally launched on 3rd April and will make its first payments to beneficiaries this month.
The scheme is managed by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) who have taken over this role from the existing UK support schemes as a result of the recommendations made by the Financial Review Group in December 2015.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
“The needs of patients and their families are very much at the heart of the new Scottish payment system, which will deliver improved support for those affected by infected blood in Scotland.
“The new scheme recognises that their needs are complex and will continue to change over time. It will be more responsive to them, simplifying the approach to support which was previously delivered by several different UK organisations.
“The Scottish Government is committed to doing all we can to help the people affected by this terrible chapter in the history of our health service. We remain the only country in the UK to have held a full public inquiry and I’m proud that we can now offer the most generous package of support in the UK to those infected and their families.”
The Scottish Government has already made substantial financial contributions to allow the lump sum payments to stage 1/chronic infected people to be paid recently and naturally this has been welcomed by many. Some of our members, when canvassed, noted that the lump sum payments were useful in paying-off part of the debts that have been accumulated since being incapacitated due to the infection from contaninated blood and blood products. This is a welcome ‘windfall’ for this constituency of our membership.
However many are still expressing disdain over the Penrose Public Inquiry that was seen by them as a waste of £12.1M after it yielded only a single recommendation that failed to address majority concerns.
The Scottish scheme is, nevertheless, percieved as being more generous and fair than the announced schemes of our UK counterpart devolved governments. The development of the Scottish scheme is also viewed as being a more open and transparent process than those elsewhere in the rest of the UK.
SIBF has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the new scheme and its aims at providing regular reviews to ensure it remains fit for purpose through the years of its operation as the needs of its beneficiaries evolve through time. The Forum in particular welcomes the Scottish Government’s committment to undertake a Clinical Review to establish better criteria for financial supports in relation to non-liver based damage of the Hep C virus and the lasting side-effects of previous toxic treatments. There is still work to do to ensure the full recommendations of the Financial Review Group are carried out comprehensively and the Forum will continue to work with the Scottish Government, and partners, to aid in the progress of that process.
The Scheme’s website can be accessed here: https://nhsnss.org/services/practitioner/medical/scottish-infected-blood-support-scheme/