Although the exact numbers are still unknown, it is estimated that approximately 32,000 were infected with the Hepatitis C virus and a further 1500 were infected with HIV in the course of medical treatment and at least 2,400 people died.
Whilst there are support provisions available, an inquiry identified a number of problems with the current support provisions available. Victims and family members were left in a state of poverty and were also unable to talk about their illness, due to the stigma attached.
However, a group of claimants, comprising of haemophiliac survivors and relatives of those killed by infected blood products, have been allowed to launch a group action seeking compensation over the contaminated blood scandal.
In order to bring a claim for compensation, the first element of the legal criteria states that there must be a breach of a duty of care. Through this scandal, it is being alleged that the members of the National Health Service acted in breach of their duty of care by failing to prevent infection and take the appropriate action once the patients had been infected.
Our thoughts go out to the victims of this scandal. From our experience of assisting injured patients, we appreciate that it may be very difficult to speak about your experiences especially due to the stigma attached to the illness you or a family member has suffered.
About the author: Robert Rose of LIME Clinical Negligence is specialist in Clinical Negligence law with over 20 years of experience. He leads a team of specialist lawyers and support staff, based in two office locations, Leicester and London.