Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
For those affected directly or indirectly by NHS supplied contaminated blood I want to end any uncertainty about the level of financial support they will receive from the Welsh Government in the future.
The scheme to support payment was established on a UK wide basis. However, this has now fragmented through new schemes announced for Scotland and England.
Reform in Wales must ensure that:
- individuals are not disadvantaged in comparison with current arrangements
- decisions take account of views expressed by those affected and their representative bodies
- any move to a new system is equitable and operates transparently and improvements are affordable and sustainable within the health budget.
As a first step to reforming the scheme in Wales, I have taken account of the views expressed by those affected and their representative bodies and the need for administrative efficiency. I have therefore decided that, as an interim measure, payments for the remainder of the 2016-17 financial year will be at the same levels as England.
However those affected may have ideas about how this money can best be used to assist them in everyday living and planning for the future. To inform our future arrangements, I am now seeking further views on a new scheme from April 2017 onwards. I will be issuing a short survey to those who those who currently receive support which will also be available on the Welsh Government website. Completed surveys will need to be submitted by 20 January 2017. I have agreed to hold 2 workshops with those affected during the consultation period, one in the North and one in the South. Any new arrangements put in place need to be affordable and sustainable within the health budget, so funding is available to operate a scheme at the same level as England.
Welsh Government officials are working closely with those in the Department of Health to shape the transitional arrangements of the new scheme administration to ensure this will be as smooth as possible. The new scheme which we will put in place will be administered to the same high level of service that those affected expect to receive.
Reform in England
The new payments being introduced by the Department of Health are:
- From 2017-18, the existing 5 bodies administering support will be replaced by a single scheme and body.
- All annual payments will include a £500 winter fuel payment (currently a discretionary payment).
- A new annual payment of £3,500 for those with HCV Stage 1 in 2016-17.
- An annual payment of £15,500 for those with HCV Stage 2 in 2016-17 (currently £14,749).
- An annual payment of £15,500 for those with HIV in 2016-17 (currently £14,749).
- A new annual payment of £18,500 for those with HIV/HCV Stage 1 in 2016-17.
- An annual payment of £30,500 for those with HIV/HCV Stage 2 in 2016-17 (currently £30,000).
- Continuation of the £20,000 lump sum payment for new registrants with HCV Stage 1.
- Continuation of the £20,000 lump sum payment for new registrants with HIV.
- Continuation of the £50,000 lump sum payment for those who progress to HCV Stage 2.
- A new one-off lump sum payment of £10,000 to partners/spouses of primary beneficiaries when they passed away and where infection with HIV and/or HCV contributed to the death.
- Continuation of payments on an ex-gratia basis and additional to other income received by the beneficiary (disregarded for taxes/benefits).
- Continuation of annual payments being linked to the consumer price index (CPI).