Dáil Éireann - Volume 446 - 02 November, 1994

Written Answers. - Support Services for Hepatitis C Sufferers.

188. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health his views on the need for compensation for women who have contracted hepatitis C antibodies or virus arising from Anti D treatment from 1977 to date; his views on the merit of the concept of compensation and/or a more efficient system for catering for the out of pocket expenses incurred by such women, their partners or children; in view of his commitment in an analogous situation affecting haemophiliacs in 1989, the new proposals, if any, he has to cater for the ongoing needs of such women, including treatment, counselling, compensation and out of pocket expenses; and if he will [1572] make a statement on the matter. [2692/94]

Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): The needs of those who have been diagnosed as positive for hepatitis C under the National Blood Screening Programme are being monitored and reassessed on an ongoing basis to ensure that the necessary support services are provided to meet their needs.

A limited ex-gratia expenses scheme is being operated by the BTSB to ensure that all Anti D recipients are in a position to avail of the screening, counselling and treatment services.

No consideration has yet been given to the question of compensation. As I have already indicated, I am awaiting the report of the expert group which I established in March last.