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Shipston woman who lost two husbands to infected blood products welcomes compensation announcement





A Shipston woman who lost two husbands to the contaminated blood scandal says the government’s use of the word compensation in relation to victims last month, is a positive step towards justice.

Elizabeth Hooper from Kineton with photosof her former husbands, Jeremy Folye, left, who she married in 1987, and Paul Hooper pictured following their wedding in at Wellesbourne Church in 2011. Photo: Mark Williamson K1/1/19/0472. (45667433)
Elizabeth Hooper from Kineton with photosof her former husbands, Jeremy Folye, left, who she married in 1987, and Paul Hooper pictured following their wedding in at Wellesbourne Church in 2011. Photo: Mark Williamson K1/1/19/0472. (45667433)

Liz Hooper, 56, lost her first husband and childhood sweetheart Jeremy in 2008, after he contracted Hepatitis C, which eventually led to cirrhosis of the liver.

Following Jeremy’s death, Liz met Paul, who had also contracted Hepatitis and HIV through contaminated blood.

The pair married in 2011, but sadly Paul’s health deteriorated as he first suffered a stroke than a cardiac arrest in 2017, from which he died.

Jeremy and Paul, whom were both haemophiliacs, were treated with blood products, many of which were imported from the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.

It’s now known that some of these products, which were made by pooling multiple blood donations together, contained viruses such as HIV and hepatitis.

At least 5,000 people are believed to have been infected in the UK, around 3,000 of whom have since died.

Many of these were unaware they were infected for years, and thousands more may have become infected as a result.

No victims of the contaminated blood scandal have ever been given compensation, though some of those infected and their families have been eligible for some financial support.

Last month the Government agreed to review the compensation and payment arrangements to victims, which will see a compensation framework to the paymaster general submitted.

Some victims and their families currently receive financial assistance through infected blood support schemes, but payments are different in different parts of the UK.

The Government also last week announced that these payments would now all be the same in all the UK nations.

Separate from this, the independent Infected Blood Inquiry, begun in 2018, is currently examining the circumstances by which men, women and children were treated with infected blood products since the 1970s.

Liz said: “We’ve got to take last week’s announcement as a positive, they’ve not admitted liability yet, but by using the word compensation for the first time it takes us a step closer to an admission that they were at fault, it makes you think the Government are now erring on the side that they can’t wiggle out of it.

“This has never been about compensation for me, I’ve lost two husbands, how can you put a price on their lives? They could never pay me enough. All I’ve ever wanted is for someone to say sorry.

“Nothing will bring pack Jeremy or Paul, all I want is justice and last week’s announcements are a step further on the ladder towards that.

“However in the Government’s submission to the paymaster general there is no mention of children, it means parents can’t claim compensation if their child died, it also means children are not eligible to compensation if their parent died. The case that comes to mind is that of seven-year-old Colin Smith who developed Aids and died after receiving infected blood products, his parents have never received anything. To ignore these people is shameful.

“The inquiry has now heard from the doctors and the blood companies and the next people to appear will be the politicians. The evidence that has already been heard has been damming.”

Liz added that she would have to wait and see what the compensation framework might mean to victims.

Clive Smith, chair of the Haemophilia Society, said: “Four decades on, the UK government’s first recognition that compensation should be paid to victims of the contaminated blood scandal and their families represents a seminal moment in our fight for justice.

“We urge the government to finally accept liability for this catastrophic NHS treatment disaster and to do the right thing by offering compensation which addresses victims’ complex needs and acknowledges the pain, anger and devastation that has been caused to many generations of families.”



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