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UK infected blood scandal victims to start receiving final compensation


FILE - People gather in Westminster on May 19, 2024, to remember those who lost their lives in the U.K.'s decades-long infected blood scandal. Britain's government said Tuesday the victims of the scandal will start receiving final compensation payments this year.  
FILE - People gather in Westminster on May 19, 2024, to remember those who lost their lives in the U.K.'s decades-long infected blood scandal. Britain's government said Tuesday the victims of the scandal will start receiving final compensation payments this year.  

Britain's government said Tuesday that thousands of victims of the U.K.'s decades-long infected blood scandal will start receiving final compensation payments this year.

The scandal, which lasted between the 1970s and the early 1990s, is seen as the deadliest episode to burden Britain's state-run National Health Service since its establishment in 1948.

Around 3,000 people died after receiving contaminated blood products and being infected with HIV and hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. More than 30,000 people were given blood treatments with contaminated blood.

A final report on the U.K.'s infected blood inquiry was published Monday. It found civil servants and doctors exposed patients to "unacceptable risks" by giving them tainted blood and successive British governments attempted to cover up the scandal.

British Cabinet Office Minister John Glen said Tuesday that many victims will receive a further interim compensation of $267,000 within three months. He added that family and friends who cared for infected victims are also eligible to claim compensation.

"I know that time is of the essence, which is why I am also pleased to say that they will be delivered within 90 days, starting in the summer so that they can reach those who need it so urgently most," Glen told lawmakers.

Officials made initial interim payments in 2022 of $127,000 to each victim and bereaved partner.

Des Collins, a lawyer representing more than 1,500 victims, said many families have not received any payments and don't have information on how to claim the payments promised to the estates of victims who died.

"We will pay comprehensive compensation to those infected and those affected by scandal," British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday in the House of Commons.

Glen said there was "no restriction" on the total cost of the compensation package but did not confirm the total cost.

"Whatever it costs to deliver this scheme, we will pay it," Sunak said.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

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