Extra money and support for NI victims of contaminated blood scandal that hit NHS
Local victims of a blood contamination scandal that hit the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s are to get more money and support.
Blood products once used by the health service included donations from US prisoners at risk of hepatitis C and HIV.
More than 2,000 people across the UK are believed to have died as a result of the scandal.
Health Minister Michelle O'Neill yesterday announced the reform of payment schemes established to treat those infected with contaminated blood products before September 1991.
A key feature of the changes, which will bring Northern Ireland into line with England, is the introduction of an annual payment.
The amounts range from £3,500 up to £35,000 and will be linked to the consumer price index, meaning they will increase in future years.
Those infected with hepatitis C stage one, which progresses to stage two, will receive a lump sum payment of £50,000.
Partners or spouses at the time of death of a primary beneficiary will be entitled to a £10,000 one-off lump sum where HIV or hepatitis C contributed to the death of their partner or spouse.
Ms ONeill said that "although no amount of money could ever make up for the life-changing and tragic impacts that these events have had", those affected "should be given the financial support that they need".
The reformed payments will come into effect in the near future and will also be backdated to April this year.