Bad Blood Settlement Submission
Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand
21st April 2005
On Tuesday, HFNZ delivered a submission to the Ministry of Health outlining a fair and equitable compensation settlement for people with haemophilia and hepatitis C. In a media release yesterday, the Ministry committed to “liaison with Crown Law for an appropriate response”. This matter must now be resolved urgently, and a concerted effort to understand and resolve the issues from Crown Law will be required and indeed expected.
The Ministry of Health has referred to the current settlement offer. Of the 171 affected, only three people with haemophilia and HCV have been able to prove their eligibility for this offer.
The Ministry of Health has not acknowledged that 171 people with haemophilia in NZ became needlessly infected with a life-threatening disease. Hepatitis C has already proved fatal for 12 people living in NZ and more will follow. In the United Kingdom not one person with haemophilia has been infected since 1985. HFNZ feels strongly that New Zealanders deserve the same level of protection and assurance that people all over the developed world enjoy.
HFNZ will shortly be publishing additional background to the document Inquiry into Matters Relating to the Safety of Blood Products in New Zealand published in 1992. HFNZ believes the general public would benefit from becoming familiar with the contents of this document.
In 2000 (which was certainly “following the inquiry”), the Government recognised that some individuals were exposed to Hepatitis C during the period when screening was generally available but not available in New Zealand. The three people who have apparently been able to prove their eligibility for this offer have demonstrated that they contracted hepatitis C during the period February 1990 to mid 1992. This is thanks to a caring group of clinicians who found funding after the Government had refused to provide laboratory testing.
People with haemophilia B were required to use infected blood products (CSL Prothrombinex) into mid-1993, after super heat screening had been introduced. It would seem that these people remain ineligible for the offer.
People remain eligible for a range of assistance from ACC depending upon their individual circumstances. The most frequent assistance is a benefit of $6.00 per week.