A COVENTRY man who contracted HIV and became disabled after receiving contaminated blood in an NHS scandal is calling on the government to honour its pledge of full compensation.
The plight of Joseph Peaty and other victims was raised at Prime Ministers’ Questions last week by Coventry North west Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson.
Mr Robinson reminded the Commons of David Cameron’s pledge in June to finally resolve compensation claims arising from the so-called “tainted blood scandal” within six months.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg, standing in for Mr Cameron, said it was a “heart-wretching issue which had dragged on for a very long time.”
He pledged to write to Mr Robinson, adding: “Steps have been taken seeking to address some of the many and legitimate outstanding claims.”
Mr Peaty, of Allesley, Coventry, was among an estimated 4,670 haemophiliacs given NHS blood transfusions in the 1970s and 1980s contaminated with the AIDS virus or hepatitis C. Nearly half of them have died.
The former Coventry council education finance officer was also diagnosed with Hepatitis C. His health deteriorated in the 1990s to the verge of AIDS – until new drugs saved his life. But he was paralysed and unable to work.
Joseph was diagnosed with haemophilia when nine months old – which causes any bleeding from cuts to be life-threatening.
He was given blood from the late 1970s imported from the US by one of several private firms involved in the scandal. It often came from prison inmates.
The Tainted Blood campaign has demanded a multi-billion pound payout to victims including Mr Peaty.
An independent inquiry by Lord Archer in 2009 ruled they were owed full compensation, but ministerial promises have since fallen by the wayside.
Mr Peaty and other victims had received a standard £60,000 in government pay-offs to mitigate legal action. Sufferers in Ireland had been paid compensation of between £500,000 and £1m.
Mr Peaty said the government was blaming hold-ups to the Penrose inquiry in Scotland, which is examining compensation north of the border.
He added: “I am happy to be named, seen and heard in public. The affected community need this public presence but there are so many still frightened by the potential stigma associated with speaking out, that often they remain in the shadows, effectively gagged by the situation inflicted on them by the NHS.”
Mr Robinson has now written to Mr Clegg stating: “Mr Joseph Peatty my constituent has just phoned me to say that the victims of this disaster simply want to know; is the Prime Minister and Coalition Government going to redeem this pledge, which the Prime Minister gave in June this year?
“This is a promise the coalition could uphold and we expect them do so and in doing so, put an end to the miserable record of successive Labour and Conservative administrations. This would be credit to their record.”
Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson