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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2887..

Lookback program and financial assistance scheme

(Question No 361)

Mr Stanhope asked the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 1 May 2001:

In relation to the Hepatitis C Lookback Program and Financial Assistance Scheme:

(1) What is the role of the ACT Government Solicitor in the Financial Assistance Scheme.

(2) Are the applicants referred to the Financial Assistance Scheme represented by law firms and if so, what firms are representing the applicants.

(3) What is the total amount that has been paid to applicants under the Financial Assistance Scheme for:

(a) damages;

(b) medical expenses; and

(c) legal costs.

(4) What is (a) the largest amount paid and (b) the smallest amount paid.

(5) How will disclosure of the amounts paid, without any reference to personal information about applicants, adversely affect the privacy of the applicants.

(6) How will the Government disclose the amounts claimed and paid under the Financial Assistance Scheme if the final number of cases settled is fewer than 20 cases.

(7) What is the total amount paid to the families or dependents of the deceased persons for:

(a) damages;

(b) medical expenses;

(c) legal costs; and

(d) funeral expenses.

Mr Moore: The answer to the member's question is:

In relation to the Hepatitis C Lookback Program and Financial Assistance Scheme:

There is a need to preface a response to these questions with a brief recap of some of the more outstanding issues surrounding the Hepatitis C Lookback program. I am sure you are aware of the extreme sensitivity surrounding these investigations. The impact of Hepatitis C on its sufferers is all consuming; even in the early stages when people may still be symptom free, the emotional and psychosocial ramifications of the disease are enormous.

There is often a perception that all those who have hepatitis C infection are intravenous drug users and this is a stigma that these people have to live with for the rest of their lives. This stigma can often make it difficult for sufferers to access the type of ongoing care and assistance they may require. It also often deprives them of

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