A VICTIM of a contaminated blood scandal has criticised health secretary Jeremy Hunt for trying to turn the public against those affected.

David Fielding said Mr Hunt's intervention — in which he said compensation to victims would only take away from frontline health services — was "disgusting".

Thousands of NHS patients were infected with hepatitis C and HIV in the 1970s and 1980s after receiving blood that was not properly tested.

Mr Fielding was being treated for haemophilia when he became infected with Hepatitis C. His brother Brian was infected with HIV and died in 1990 after contracting Aids.

The 58-year-old, from Farnworth, said: "I couldn't believe it when I saw what he had said. To say that compensation to us would take money from others in need is emotional blackmail. It is disgusting.

"We deserve proper compensation for what we have been put through in the last 20 years. I am really angry. Mr Hunt is trying to sway the public against us saying the money would come out of frontline services.

"I have lost a brother through this. He got £20,000 for his life — it's absolutely insulting. They give you a bit of 'shut up money' here and there — but it is about time we were properly compensated."

In a letter to an unnamed constituent Mr Hunt said: "Any additional resources found for a settlement will be taken away from money spent on direct patient care for patients on the NHS, where we are under severe pressure, so it is not going to be easy."

MP for Bolton South East Yasmin Qureshi has supported Mr Fielding's campaign.

She said: "This is the biggest scandal going and the victims need to be compensated.

"I have not seen the letter myself but it is disgraceful for Mr Hunt to say that money will be taken from others in need. We must not put people against each other like that.

"No one chooses to go to the hospital. If you are unwell you are unwell. To put guilt trips on people is wrong."

Mr Fielding himself nearly died as a result of the scandal. He was diagnosed in 1998 and was told he had just six months to live unless he received a liver transplant.

After a six-year inquiry costing millions of pounds, Lord Penrose concluded that more should have been done to screen blood and donors for hepatitis C in the early 1990s and that the collection of blood from prisoners should have stopped earlier.

Earlier this year Prime Minister David Cameron apologised to "each and every one" of the affected and announced £25 million of funding to improve financial support for the victims.