A REVIEW of the financial support given to victims of the contaminated blood scandal will report to Scottish ministers before Christmas, it has been promised.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said in a letter to The Herald that the review will report to her by November and conclude - as previously announced - by April 17 next year, World Haemophilia Day.

Her confirmation of the timetable follows a row in Westminster about a delay in compensating patients south of the Border.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new £25 million fund for people infected with hepatitis C and HIV during the 1970s and 1980s as a result of contaminated blood donations.

However, last week it was revealed that decisions on how this money will be spent will not be made for at least another 12 months.

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."

The Scottish review of the financial support schemes currently available to victims was announced after the publication of the Penrose Inquiry into the way NHS patients, including many haemophilia sufferers, were infected by blood treatments.

The inquiry, chaired by Lord Penrose, estimated that 2500 people in Scotland contracted Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion and 478 people were infected through products used to treat bleeding disorders. Some 78 patients also caught HIV from blood treatments.

Many of these patients have already died.

In her letter Ms Robison said the review team has started work. She added: "The Scottish Government has already contributed around £30 million over the last ten years to financial support schemes for the people affected by this terrible tragedy.

"However, like Lord Penrose I acknowledge that some people feel the existing levels of payment are insufficient. That is why we must move quickly to review these schemes."