September 25th, 2016

Hope turns to despair for tainted blood victims

Updated: 4:47 pm, May 07, 2015

OPTIMISM turned to despair and more frustration for a Coventry HIV sufferer and fellow victims of the NHS tainted blood scandal as another report and MPs’ debate left them without long-awaited full compensation.

Allesley man Joseph Peatty said any prospect of a fair settlement before the general election was now remote, after last week’s report from an all party group of MPs.

He and fellow campaigners among more than 4,000 people who were infected by contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s when treated for potentially life-threatening haemophilia have fought for justice for decades.

Prime Minister David Cameron had last June pledged to finally resolve the issue within months, five years after the Archer Inquiry concluded victims and families were entitled to full compensation.

But the lack of government response to the MPs’ report last week which criticised the quality of existing government-funded support left many victims disappointed.

Coventry North west Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson took part in a Parliamentary debate the day after the report, amid some hope that an awaited inquiry in Scotland will move things forward south of the border.

But the debate heard there was no fixed date for the Scottish Penrose report, even though a timescale for it would be heard later this month.

Junior health minister Jane Ellison said the Penrose report would “examine adverse consequences for infected patients and their families, and identify lessons and implications for the future. That is why we feel we need to wait to see the report.”

But Mr Robinson said: “We do not need the Penrose report as we have already had the Archer report. All sorts of investigations have proved beyond doubt that this is the government’s responsibility, that the extent of the tragedy is tremendous and that the provision we have made so far has been inadequate.

“That is the end of the story. What we now need is a resolution… It is a matter of getting a decision now.”

He read a letter from 49-year-old Mr Peatty, who is disabled and also infected with Hepatitis C along with many other victims. The letter stated: “I miss being able to contribute to a productive career… Perhaps because of my age when I was first affected, my hopes and expectations, that were much like anyone else’s (education, home, partner, children, career, travel, ‘make a difference to the world’) were taken from me.

“I am now just a shadow of the potential I once held, struggling to exist let alone live a purposeful, fulfilling life, worrying what the next viral complication will be.”

Mr Robinson added of Mr Peatty, who now leads the Tainted Blood campaign nationally: “There is nothing self-pitying about Joseph Peatty.

“He is in every sense a man of immense dignity and tremendous forbearance in the face of suffering that was inflicted on him by the very organisation that was meant to be treating his ill health.”

Mr Peatty, a former Coventry council officer, said government support with grants, counselling and other help though charitable trusts has been”inadequate”, and funding had been “choked off”.

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