Contaminated NHS blood victim Alex Smith launches 'injustice' claim

Alex Smith
Image caption Alex Smith said thousands of people with Hepatitis C have suffered an injustice

A man who developed Hepatitis C from contaminated blood is demanding more financial support from the government.

Alex Smith, from Oldham, said it was an "injustice" victims were receiving far less than those who contracted HIV through NHS blood products in the 1970s and 80s.

His solicitors have asked the Department of Health (DoH) for comparable help.

The DoH said it was "more than doubling" its annual spending.

Mr Smith said he may start a judicial review of the government's cash help for those affected.

'Existing discrimination'

He said: "Why are they not treating us the same, why is my life worth less than someone with HIV?

"It is an injustice."

In 2015, the then Prime Minster David Cameron apologised to thousands of victims of the contaminated blood scandal.

The government announced in July that those with stage 1 Hepatitis C would receive £3,500 a year, with the provision to appeal for a higher payment close to the £15,000 received by HIV patients who received toxic blood.

Image copyright SPL
Image caption Thousands of people in the UK were infected when they were treated with imported blood products in the 1970s and 80s

Mr Smith's solicitor, Leigh Day, said the government's wording was "unclear" and needed clarifying, adding: "It continues the existing unlawful discrimination against stage 1 HCV claimants."

The payments ran counter to a government decision which said people with Hepatitis C should receive financial support which is "broadly comparable" for those who contracted HIV, the letter added.

The Department of Health said it was "more than doubling its annual spend on the scheme for people affected by this tragedy over the next five years, and was therefore able to provide an annual payment to all infected individuals for the first time."

It added: "This is significantly more than any previous government has been able to provide for those affected by this tragedy."

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