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Father calls on government to deliver on promises over blood scandal

PUBLISHED: 11:55 25 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:55 25 November 2015

Father Bruce Norval has called on the government to deliver on its pre-election promises to contaminated blood victims

Father Bruce Norval has called on the government to deliver on its pre-election promises to contaminated blood victims

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Agony for victims of health scandal as government looks set to make them wait yet again for proper compensation

An estimated 7,500 haemophiliacs were infected with hepatitis C or HIV, or both. Some 2,000 have since diedAn estimated 7,500 haemophiliacs were infected with hepatitis C or HIV, or both. Some 2,000 have since died

A father whose life has been torn apart by a health scandal has called on the government to deliver on its pre-election promise to make amends for decades of suffering.

Bruce Norval was one of 7,500 haemophiliacs – 2,000 now dead – who contracted hepatitis C or HIV after being treated with contaminated blood by the NHS in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The former Kilburn resident was treated with blood factor products many thousands of times and each injection exposed him to a range of viruses.

It followed a deadly medical oversight in which blood taken from high risk donors, such as drug addicts and prisoners, was used by the NHS.

COMMENT: Come on Cameron, speed up support...

The contaminated blood scandal is a tragedy that has drawn on for far too long. Despite promises from this government that new financial support is on the way, there is little sign this will happen soon.

Meanwhile thousands who have lost their health as a result of killer viruses continue to live in poverty. The failure runs deep.

The Times welcomes the government’s pledge to make £25million available to victims. But today we call on prime minister David Cameron to speed up the release of these funds.

Campaigners are hopeful of reaching a negotiated settlement that will fairly meet the needs of all affected by this tragedy.

The government has promised to put this right. Until then the Times will continue to press the government to stick to its promises.

In March this year the prime minister apologised on behalf of the British government and promised to release £25million financial support for victims immediately, and to increase that after the general election in May.

But the £25million has not been forthcoming and blood scandal campaigners say the timetable has “slipped drastically” - with a final settlement proposal now unlikely before April.

Mr Norval, who was living off Shoot Up Hill, when he was diagnosed with hep C, said: “The state still insists in ignoring the illegality, and unethical treatment that highlights the human rights offence that was haemophilia viral exploitation.

“Patients were used as lab rats and claiming no fault is an affront to stark evidence to the contrary.”

The Times highlighted the many ways victims and their families have been let down by successive governments over three decades in a special report in June.

Campaign groups say they are frustrated that settlement negotiations are still at early stages.

They also fear some key groups, such as children of those who have died and some infected with hep C, may be left out if any future settlement follows proposals already drafted in Scotland.

Joseph Peaty, co-chair of campaign group Tainted Blood, said: “It’s astonishing and outrageous really that this isn’t in the pipeline and ready to go when the government knew they had to do this.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Reforming the current payment schemes for those affected remains a priority. We are absolutely determined to get this right.”

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