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A sigh of relief for Hep C sufferers

The long running battle of Hep C sufferers with the government ended with cheer as they were offered compensation. //

The Haemophilia Foundation, who fought the claim say that the Government would offer sufferers about $60,000 each in compensation, based on the amount they would have received in lump-sum compensation from ACC in 1992, plus interest and inflation.

Eastbourne man Steve Waring who contracted hepatitis C from donated blood products in the 1980s said, There was no acknowledgment of the suffering of people. I couldn't believe the injustice that had taken place and the fact that they were ignored. It's a silent killer that creeps up and gets you.

He helped spearhead the Haemophilia Foundation's campaign on behalf of 172 people infected with hepatitis C from contaminated blood products.

The deal would also have a statement of regret and apology from Prime Minister Helen Clark. Since she was one of the former health ministers caught up in the bad- blood scandal, along with former National health minister Simon Upton.

Infected haemophiliacs may qualify for as much as $10 million in compensation. But the costs of any compensation package are likely to go higher, as others who are not haemophiliacs, but received tainted blood transfusions, are also likely to qualify.

The earlier developments were as follows:- in 1998, the National government offered $20,000 to 32 people infected with hepatitis C by bad blood, and in 2000 Labour offered $40,000-plus costs to those infected between 1990 and mid-1992 when screening began. However, only three people qualified for compensation under those conditions.

In the words of Waring, It's been at least 14 years since we started fighting successive governments about it. I'm just looking forward to it being finalised then we can get on and live life with that chapter closed and over. It's the acknowledgment that is so important.


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