SCOTTISH victims of the NHS contaminated blood scandal have spoken of their shock and confusion at receiving letters from the Department of Health in England over financial settlements.

Thousands of people were infected with Hepatitis C and HIV through NHS blood products in the 1970s and 80s, many of whom were haemophiliac patients, and the Scottish Government has been in consultation with victims in Scotland over support payments for months.

A financial review group was set up in the wake of the Penrose Inquiry, published last year, and Prime Minister David Cameron committed £25 million to supporting the transition to a better payment system for those affected.

Last night Health Minister Shona Robison reassured worried victims that Scotland “will not be adopting” the proposals put forward by the UK Government, stressing they are “for England only”.

She added: “The Scottish Government has initiated its own process to review financial support arrangements in Scotland.

“This involved a separate Scottish consultation managed by a group with those affected as members. This group has made recommendations for improved support in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is carefully considering these proposals and will decide on what support arrangements are most appropriate for Scotland. An announcement will be made by Scottish ministers by April.”

Victims in Scotland are likely to have their payments almost doubled after the financial support review group made a series of recommendations to the Scottish Government.

The group’s report said that money for people infected with HIV or who developed advanced Hepatitis C through contaminated blood products should be increased from £15,000 to £27,000 per year in line with the Scottish full-time gross median income, and that those co-infected should receive an increased award of £37,000. The review further proposes that all co-infected people who are currently at stage one of the Skipton Fund process, a UK-wide fund set up to organise payments to victims, should automatically receive the £50,000 lump sum they would normally only get by applying and qualifying for stage two.

Dan Farthing-Sykes, CEO of Haemophilia Scotland, criticised the Department of Health letters and said there “isn’t even any reference to the separate Scottish process”.

He added: “It is causing a lot of confusion for our members. Many are also worried that Westminster are planning to enforce the significantly inferior English proposals on Scotland.

“It looks like an attempt by the Department of Health in England to undermine the Scottish process.”

The six-page letters were sent out to all Scottish victims who are registered for one or more of the five schemes which provide financial support to those infected with HIV or Hep C through NHS-supplied blood products before September, 1991, urging them to let their views be known on the proposals for English victims.

Bruce Norval, 50, from Inverness, who was infected with hepatitis C, said: “I think the letter demonstrates how much contempt they have for the overall haemophilia and victim population in that they haven’t bothered to differentiate, which shows as much consideration for those down in England as it does for us up north.

“I think the contempt it has shown to Shona Robison and the Scottish Government is appalling and the lack of any co-ordination with Westminster and Scotland speaks volumes.”

John Prior, 41, of Glasgow, a haemophiliac infected with Hepatitis C as a child, said the letter has caused many victims who are already suffering from stress and health problems even more anxiety.

He added: “I was shocked to get a letter from the Department of Health in England because it’s a separate devolved system, so we’ve received a letter from basically another country.”

A Department of Health spokesman added: “The proposals for reform and the additional money committed by the Department of Health are for those infected in England.

“Our consultation is separate from the Scottish Government’s process to review financial support arrangements in Scotland. We will continue to collaborate with ... opposite numbers in the devolved administrations to align as far as possible and ensure the best possible outcomes for those affected.”