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Government response to Senate Committee Report on the C.J.D. settlement offer.



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Media release

 

The Hon Dr Michael Wooldridge

Minister for Health and Family Services

 

 

Embargo:

Until tabled in Senate (expected 3:45pm)

 

MW 69/98

31 March 1998

 

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO SENATE COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE C.J.D. SETTLEMENT OFFER

 

The Governme nt’s response to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee’s Report on the CJD Settlement Offer was tabled in the Senate this afternoon by Senator Herron, the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Family Services.

 

The Government accepted the great majority of the recommendations made in the Report.

 

The Government has decided to allocate up to a further $3 million to the Human Pituitary Hormones Trust Account to provide for one-off payments to be made to any hormone recipient who can show that they have a psychiatric injury caused by their being told they are at a greater risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

 

All hormone recipients who have received human pituitary derived hormone made by CSL on behalf of the Australian Human Pituitary Hormone Program who have suffered a recognised psychiatric injury, regardless of whether they have sued the Commonwealth or not, or whether their treatment was approved or unapproved by the Australian Human Pituitary Hormone Program, are eligible to apply for a one-off payment from these funds.

 

The Government will also establish an independent Board to authorise payments from the Trust Account for a recognised psychiatric injury and to consider applications from hormone recipients.  In this way, the Government will ensure that the decisions regarding such payments are made by an independent group of experts.

 

The Government decided to allocate up to $3 million in line with the Committee’s recommendation 6(a) that the amount, as a minimum, be equivalent to the cost of the potential litigation.  In fact, the estimates received by the Government for continuing the litigation, were below this amount, but we have decided to make the greater amount available.

 

These funds will be available in two separate instalments.  The first instalment of $1.5 million will be put into the Trust Account straight away.  The independent Trust Account Board will then make a determination on the payments to recipients who make an application.  The second instalment of up to a further $1.5 million dollars will be made in 1999/2000.

 

The Minister for Health and Family Services, Dr Michael Wooldridge, said that this had been a tragic episode for all concerned and support must be given to those affected.

 

“We’ve tried to be compassionate in the way we handle this sensitive matter, in a way that is fair to the people affected and their families,”  Dr Wooldridge said.

 

Media contact:  Bill Royce, Dr Wooldridge’s Office, (02) 6277 7220