MP demands action for Hep C blood victim

MP Tom Clarke
MP Tom Clarke

An MP has taken his constituent’s fight for compensation to the House of Commons after he was given contaminated blood as a child.

John Prior from Moodiesburn was diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis C in 1994, linked to a contaminated blood transfusion he was given in Yorkhill while he was being treated for haeomphilia as a youngster.

Tom Clarke MP raised the issue in Westminster, and told the house: ‘‘Tragically the blood that was donated was pooled from donations of thousands of donors including prisoners in American jails. Why was the NHS accepting blood from such a source? It clearly makes the State, that is to say the Government, liable for its victims. In my view, no innocent child, oblivious to where the blood was obtained, should be at this stage in his life, now an adult aged 40, struggling for a remedy to this horrific problem. Haemophiliacs such as John have not received justice – specifically in terms of compensation – and I am determined to keep up their fight for justice.’’

Mr Clarke said an apology from the Government was not enough, what was needed was a simple compensation system.

He added: “My constituent has made it absolutely clear to me that the various charities such as Caxton and Skipton, set up to help victims, are not fit for purpose. Indeed, John Prior will never contact Caxton again. Over 80 per cent of victims do not receive any ongoing financial help from Skipton yet people are suffering. John’s liver consultant applied to Skipton for the stage 2 payment but his application was rejected because he had not reached the ‘crisis’ point.

“What I want to know is how can a charity ignore the recommendations of a learned liver consultant?”

Mr Clarke concluded: “I referred to the complexity of legislation which really does not help the victims gain either the compensation or dignity that the Government is due them. I have tried my best to get legislation through the House of Commons and to that end I had a meeting with the then Leader of the House. Quite bluntly he would not make the time available. Clearly his priorities and mine were completely different and that is probably due to the fact that I represent someone like John Prior who lives with this injustice day in and day out as does his family and friends.

“I believe profoundly that an apology from the Government, important though it is, is not nearly enough. The only remedy to this problem is adequate financial compensation and until John is satisfied with what he is due, I will not give up the fight.”