Update on Bristol Pandemrix Compensation Appeal Hearing

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1 February 2016

Our chair Matt O'Neill was a witness at a court hearing in Bristol on 26 January 2016 in support of an application to an appeal tribunal for payment under the Vaccine Damage Payment Act 1979. This was in support of a child that developed narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix Swine Flu Vaccine. It is important to us all as the main requirement is to define the level of disability associated with narcolepsy and although this case obviously relates to an individual, please share this update to show your support for the family concerned.

We would also like to say, thank you very much for all the support from the narcolepsy community, we know that it has meant a lot to the family concerned. It was a very long day and an extremely wet one as well. But in the end a great result.

Please see below a Press Release from the solicitors engaged in this case:

I am pleased to report that we were successful in our appeal against the DWP who had refused to make a payment under the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme. A payment had been refused on the basis that the disability threshold in my client’s case had not been reached. In particular, that their disablement was not severe (60% or above).

Having heard all of the evidence, the Tribunal concluded that, in fact, my client’s disablement was assessed at 72% and, therefore, clearly exceeded the threshold. This assessment was based on his disabilities at the date of the hearing. There was no need, therefore, for the Tribunal in this case to consider what impact his disabilities would have upon him in the future.

In reaching their decision, the Tribunal heard extensive evidence from my client’s Mother and from Matt O’Neill. Further, we had very persuasive written evidence from Professor Gringras, my client’s school and a video showing my client having a Cataplexy attack, which, I believe, significantly influenced the panel. They, in fact, concluded that the Cataplexy amounted to 30% of the disablement. The Tribunal also took into account excessive weight gain which is associated with Narcolepsy. They assessed this as contributing 5% towards his disablement.

Considering the Respondent’s evidence, they concluded that their medical advisor had not taken into account the whole picture and their opinion was selective. Great weight had been placed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pension on the fact that the client was functioning at school and was reaching his expected levels.

This is clearly the right decision and I am extremely pleased for my client.

Suzanne Williams
Partner
Davies and Partners Solicitors