Time is running out for victims of the contaminated blood scandal Conservative ministers have been told after they confirmed plans to delay millions of pounds worth of pledged compensation.

Campaigners said that many patients felt they were being "left to die in misery" in a bid to save money.

The row erupted after the promised payments were delayed until 2016-17, forcing victims and their families to wait at least another year.

Prime Minister David Cameron himself had announced a new £25 million fund for those infected with hepatitis C and HIV during the 1970s and 1980s.

But in a little noticed announcement slipped out last Friday ministers said that decisions on how the money would be spent would not be made for at least another 12 months.

MPs warned that people who were waiting for the cash did not have "infinite time".

Haemophilia Scotland accused Mr Cameron of pledging the money is a "cynical pre-election statement" and warned that its members needed "further support now".

An inquiry by Lord Penrose into NHS transfusions before 1991 found that not only had patients been inadvertently infected but that at least 2,000 had died as a result.

Dragged to the House of Commons after Labour was granted an Urgent Question on the issue, Tory health minister Ben Gummer told MPs a consultation on payments would start in the autumn and and report back before the end of the year.

A reformed compensation scheme would be implemented as soon as possible after that, potentially before the end of 2015/16, he said.

He added: "The thing that (patients) really have asked for above all is action and that is what we are doing".

But he admitted a number of times that the scheme had to be looked at as part of the wider spending review, currently ongoing within government.

The £25m will not be lost through the delay, but will roll over to the following year, sources said.

Dr Philippa Whitford, the MP for Central Ayrshire, warned MPs of their responsibility to those affected.

"We hurt these people, we must not let them down," she said.

Diana Johnson, the Labour MP for Hull North, said: "Many victims feel that they are being left to die in misery so that the costs of any eventual settlement scheme become more affordable.

"Before the election the Prime Minister promised urgent action, so now is the time to deliver."

Veteran Labour MP Gerald Kaufman urged the government to think again, saying: "The people who are waiting for this do not have infinite time, consultation takes too long, action is essential.".

Conservative ministers also faced accusation that they had treated patients shabbily over the way the delay was announced.

In a statement on Friday Tory minister Lord Prior said there would be a consultation on how the new scheme would be structured.

He added: “Decisions on the overall (Department of Health) budget from 2016-17 onwards will be determined as part of the forthcoming spending review.

"While I understand that beneficiaries to the current schemes may be frustrated by this wait, this is an extremely complex and sensitive area and any reform plans must be carefully considered before a consultation can be launched."

Dan Farthing-Sykes, from Haemophilia Scotland, said: "David Cameron’s personal credibility is already very low on this issue having failed to keep his pledge to his dying constituent to deal with this issue within six months.

"Then, in a cynical pre-election statement, he announced £25million of new money.

"However, not a single extra penny has been paid to the victims of the disaster.

"This is despite the fact that the Government has had a report for over a year which reveals that may of those affected by the disaster are living in poverty."

He claimed that now "ashamed of how little progress had been made, the government tried to make do with releasing a written statement of the House of Lords."

"To have regained any of its lost credibility on this issue the minimum that the UK Government should have announced today was that the £25million would be paid to those affected immediately to provide some relief before Christmas. Our members needs some further support now while the details of a new scheme are decided. Today's statement provides none."