Thousands of victims of the infected blood scandal will receive compensation payments of £100,000 by the end of this month, the government has confirmed.
It comes after a report published in July by infected blood inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff said the interim payments should be made “without delay”.
But bereaved relatives say the announcement fails to recognise most family members, who will miss out on this raft of interim payments.
The scandal has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in NHS history.
Patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products imported from the US. It is thought about 2,400 people died as a result.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi said: “I know from my own discussions with constituents who are victims of the infected blood scandal just how traumatic their heart-breaking experiences have been and I was proud to campaign as an MP on their behalf and continue that work as a government minister.
“No level of compensation will ever make up for the appalling treatment and circumstances that those affected by this scandal and their families have had to endure, but I hope that these interim payments go some way to demonstrate that we are, and always will be, on their side.”
The interim compensation payments are expected to reach around £400m for the whole UK, the Cabinet Office said.
Money will also be sent through schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as those in England.
Scottish public health minister Maree Todd said the payments would be made through the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS) on 28 October.
“We recognise how important the issue of interim payments has been for Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme members, and those in the other UK support schemes, who have suffered for so long,” she said.
“The Scottish government is grateful to Sir Brian for the interim report and welcomes the UK government’s commitment to funding the interim payments. I recognise that there is still more to do and we’ll consider any further recommendations from the Infected Blood Inquiry when it reports next year.”