NI contaminated blood victims welcome increase in payments

02 September 2020

Victims in Northern Ireland of the contaminated blood scandal have welcomed an announcement that payments made to them are being uplifted in line with those made to victims in England.

The move effectively puts an end to the “post code lottery” whereby solely on the basis of being resident in Northern Ireland, victims of contaminated blood scandal have found themselves substantially worse off under the Governments Payment scheme, than those in England.

 Francis Hanna & Co  Solicitors act for Nigel Hamilton, who was infected with Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products he received during an eye operation as a child. He suffers from serious and ongoing ill health as a result of being infected with Hepatitis C together with the side effects of treatments clinically prescribed to manage his infection.  As a result, like many others he is unable to work and his quality of life has been severely diminished.

 Each jurisdiction in the UK has their own scheme for payments to those who were infected by contaminated blood. The Scheme in England revised their payments in April 2019 so that those in the same position as Mr Hamilton, would receive monthly payments totalling £28,000 per year, whereas Mr Hamilton and others in his situation, were left £10,000 per year worse off. Since the revision of the Scheme in England, Mr Hamilton together with other victims have lobbied the Government for payments to be increased. Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors were instructed to act for Nigel Hamilton and an application to the High Court for leave for Judicial Review was lodged in February 2020. It was contended that the Department of Health, in failing to recognise and rectify the disparity in payments to victims in Northern Ireland against those in England, were acting unlawfully and in breach of their obligations under Human Rights Law. Furthermore, it was contended that this was procedurally unfair.

Nigel Hamilton commented: “ This development means that many victims in Northern Ireland can now live their lives with a degree of financial certainty, and are no longer being treated like second class citizens, something which we were strongly opposed to.” Whilst welcoming the letter received last week from the Minister of Health, Robin Swann, announcing the uplifts,  Mr Hamilton added, “There is still significant work to do for victims of this scandal to achieve justice and I am particularly concerned about the lack of provision for the bereaved widowed partners and family members of those victims who have tragically died”.

Mr Hamilton’s solicitor, Laura Banks said “ We are pleased that our client and the many other victims throughout Northern Ireland are now receiving financial parity with their counterparts in England, at long last. However, it is important to remember that these are victims of what has been dubbed the worst disaster in the history of the NHS. Thousands of lives were ruined when people were given contaminated blood- a tragedy that should never have happened. Victims have campaigned for decades for a UK wide inquiry into this scandal which is now ongoing. Until now, victims in Northern Ireland had been subjected to additional injustice. A life in Northern Ireland is worth no less than a life in England and this disparity ought to have been rectified long before now. Our client has fought tirelessly to achieve this outcome despite his ill health- something he should never have had to do. Nonetheless, we welcome this development and hope that it goes some way to improve the lives of those in Northern Ireland who fell victim to this harrowing tragedy.”

For any Social Justice/ Judicial Review enquiry please contact Laura Banks on 02890243901 or by email on