He was speaking after a debate in Parliament today on the Infected Blood Inquiry and compensation framework.
During the debate, the Foyle MP said: “On the issue of the enhanced payment for patients with Hepatitis C, stage one – in Northern Ireland, that scheme was backdated to 2019. In the rest of the UK, it’s backdated to 2017.
“The British Government today have begun acting in the devolved space around budgets because we don’t have a government, of course, in Northern Ireland.
“Does she (Jessica Morden MP) agree with me that the British Government should urgently backdate the payments in Northern Ireland to 2017 like the rest of the UK has?”
Following a response from the Minister stating that he will need to consult colleagues in the Department for Health and Social Care, and also the Northern Ireland Department of Health before writing to Mr Eastwood, Mr Eastwood said:
“Can the Minister bear in mind that we don’t have a single minister in Northern Ireland over any devolved area right now, and people in Northern Ireland are getting a bad deal because of this particular scheme?
“The Government has today published a budget in the devolved space for Northern Ireland. This is a very doable thing that this Government can do. Please take it very seriously.”
After the debate, the SDLP leader said: “The lack of an Executive is Stormont is having a drastic impact on people here, especially those affected by the contaminated blood scandal.
“This should act as a wake-up call to those refusing to enter Government here that the British Government must act on our behalf to provide payments to people affected by the scandal.
“The British Government must act urgently to ensure that those affected by the infected blood scandal here are treated equally to those in Britain when it comes to backdating enhanced payments.”Tags: