UK's Sunak promises swift compensation for victims of infected blood scandal

UK's Sunak promises swift compensation for victims of infected blood scandal

At Infected Blood Inquiry, British premier acknowledges that governments have let down victims for decades

By Mehmet Solmaz

BIRMINGHAM, England (AA) - British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday was questioned in parliament over delays in paying victims compensation money for contaminated blood supplies.

At the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sunak promised to pay compensation to victims of the “appalling” contaminated blood scandal “as swiftly as possible” following their decades of suffering.

The inquiry was established in 2017 to examine how thousands of patients developed HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Around 2,900 people died in the years since, many of them sufferers of the blood-clotting disorder hemophilia.

Asked by inquiry counsel Jenni Richards if he understands that justice delayed is justice denied, Sunak said victims have been “let down for decades by successive governments.”

“The government is committed and I am committed to acting as swiftly as possible,” Sunak told the hearing.

Despite criticisms of delaying the process, Sunak says his government would wait until the conclusion of the official inquiry – expected this fall – before providing further details on the matter.

“Now, of course I appreciate that people want to see action as soon as humanly possible. I can entirely sympathize with that. And so the sooner the better, for sure,” he said, adding: “This has been going on for decades.”

Inquiry Chair Brian Langstaff argued that an interim compensation scheme should be widened, so orphaned children and parents of the victims can also be compensated.

Under the initial scheme, only victims themselves or their partners can receive an interim payment of around £100,000 ($130,000).

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