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14th October 2010

Blood victim payouts not raised

Victims of a contaminated blood scandal have been told their compensation will not be increased to match that of payments made to victims in Ireland.

Hundreds of haemophiliac patients in the UK were given blood transfusions infected with HIV or hepatitis C during the 1970s and 1980s.

But the UK Government rejected a High Court demand that it reconsiders its decision not to raise the level of compensation.

A report by Lord Archer, which had to be funded privately because successive governments have refused to call any inquiry of their own, said the higher payments given to victims in Ireland should be matched by the UK.

The infected material was donated in the US by people who were paid money to give blood, some of whom were drug addicts.

Lord Archer said the scandal is a "horrific human tragedy".

Half of the 5,000 people infected with hepatitis C have since died, while three-quarters of the approximate 1,200 of those infected with HIV have also since died.

Public health minister Anne Milton rejected the calls to match the Irish payments, although she said ministers will look again at compensation for the people with hepatitis C.

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