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Skipton Fund - appeals panel

Stage 1 latest

Figures supplied by The Skipton Fund June 2014


The Government (all four UK administrations) have collectively established a scheme to make ex-gratia payments to individuals infected with hepatitis C as a result of receiving NHS blood or blood products. A private company limited by guarantee (called the Skipton Fund) has been established to operate the scheme and make payments. The scheme has been in operation since 5th July 2004.

The scheme provides for two levels of payments, the first for individuals who develop chronic hepatitis C infection, with a further second payment for those who go on to develop cirrhosis or primary liver cancer, as a direct result of hepatitis C infection due to NHS blood or blood products.

Claims are assessed and decided by the Skipton Fund based on evidence submitted by the claimant. Where claims are not successful, claimants have the right to appeal to the independent Appeal Panel. The secretariat for the Panel is provided by the Skipton Fund.

Terms of Reference

The role of the Appeal Panel is to reconsider the cases of any claimants who appeal against individual decisions made by the Skipton Fund. The Panel will look at how the decision was reached and examine all available evidence, or seek further written evidence where necessary, in order to either confirm or change the Skipton Fund’s decision. In considering the evidence the Appeal Panel will look solely at the written evidence and will not seek personal attendance. The Panel will not be able to consider appeals against the ex-gratia payment scheme itself, but only to examine the process to determine the claims within the terms of the scheme.

Appeals may be made against decisions concerning both stage 1 and stage 2 payments. For stage one appeals, the Panel will need to determine whether, on the balance of probabilities, chronic hepatitis C infection resulted from receipt of NHS blood or blood products, and for stage two appeals, the likelihood, on the information provided, that the claimant has developed cirrhosis or primary liver cancer (although the Appeal Panel is thought unlikely to see many Stage 2 appeals).

The following rates of fees will be paid:
Chair £200 per day
Medical Member £140 per day
Lay Member £100 per day

Allowances for necessary travel and subsistence, at rates set centrally, are also payable.

These appointments have been made in accordance with the OCPA Code of Practice. All non-executive appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.

Details of Appeal panel members


Professor Mark Mildred lives in London. He is part-time Professor of Litigation at Nottingham Law School. He is also a member of various law related committees and editorials. He was until 2011 Vice Chair of Wandsworth PCT. Professor Mildred is white and has not declared a disability. He is a member of the Labour party, having held office such as Chair, Treasury or secretary of a local branch.

Ministerial appointments

Ministry of Justice: fee paid Judge of First Tier Tribunals sitting in Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals, Family Health Lists and Special Educational Needs jurisdictions.

Lay member:

Mrs Annie Hitchman lives in Durham and serves as a Fitness to Practice Panellist for both the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Health and Care Professions Council. She is a lay member on the Standards Committee of the Bar Standards Board and also serves on the North East Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards. She is Chair of Age UK County Durham. Mrs Hitchman is white and has not declared a disability. She is not politically active.


Professor Peter Mills is a Consultant Physician and Hepatologist at the Western Infirmary and Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow. He has held this post since 1988. He is also an Honorary Professor in Medicine at the University of Glasgow. He has been an advisor to the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, Chair of the Advisory Group in Gastroenterology, President of the Scottish Society of Gastroenterology, Director of Medical Examinations for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and Chair of the Specialty Certificate Examination Board in Gastroenterology. He also serves on the Appeals and Registration Panel for the General Medical Council, the SAC in Gastroenterology and the Assessment Committee of the Joint Royal College of Physicians Training Board. He also currently Chairs two Data and Safety Monitoring Committees for major clinical trials.


Dr Patricia Hewitt lives in London. She is a Consultant in Transfusion Medicine specialising in Clinical Transfusion Microbiology with NHS Blood & Transplant. She is also National Clinical Claims Manager for NHSBT. She is chair of the UKBTS/NIBSC Standing Advisory Committee on Transfusion Transmitted Infection. She is a member of specialist committees advising on risk assessment and risk management of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and of the Steering Groups of the HCV Register, the HTLV Register and the Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT). Dr Hewitt is white and has not declared a disability. She is not politically active and holds no ministerial appointments


Dr Norman Gourlay lives in Arrochar. Dr Gourlay is currently a Portfolio GP with a medico-legal practice. His work includes carrying out medical negligence report writing in regard to General Practitioners for solicitors and Defence Unions. He is a chair of Fitness to Practise Panels for the MPTS (GMC). He also participates in GP locum work, working regularly in a remote rural practice in Argyll in order to achieve a degree of continuity of care. He is not politically active.

Ministerial appointment

Dept of Justice, Member, Tribunal Services – appointed 1996. Daily fee payable.