A woman infected with deadly hepatitis C in a contaminated blood scandal has criticised David Cameron’s apology as too little, too late.

Lesley Hughes was given 44 pints of blood in transfusions after suffering severe injuries – including losing an eye – in a horrific car crash in 1970.

Last year the 61-year-old discovered the blood had infected her with the hepatitis C virus, a devastating blow she described as a “death sentence”.

Lesley is among thousands of British people infected after US pharmaceutical companies paid drug users, prisoners and prostitutes to donate blood.

In January Lesley and her husband Ray travelled from their New Forest home to join campaigners calling for a national public apology and a final compensation settlement.

Daily Echo:

Yesterday Mr Cameron used the last prime minister’s questions before the General Election to sympathise with the “feeling of unfairness that people must feel at being infected”.

And he told MPs: “To each and every one of these people I would like to say sorry, on behalf of the Government, for something that should not have happened.”

He announced the Government would provide up to £25m from next month to “support any transitional arrangement to a better payment system”.

In a statement Lesley and Ray said: “We as a group were expecting much more. We wanted to believe that some governing body would have the courage to find the truth and compensate the victims for infecting us in the first place, for giving us more illness to contend with and for the financial hardship that many have suffered.

“We wanted to find out how and why on earth this terrible disaster happened and find out why ministers, civil servants and health authorities were slow to heed warning signs.

“They covered up their total disregard of the patients that were supposed to be in their care. None of these questions have been answered.”

The criticisms echoed the reaction in Scotland, where an inquiry – the only probe in the UK – described the saga as “the stuff of nightmares”.

However, the inquiry concluded little could have been done differently and made only a single recommendation – that anyone who had a blood transfusion before 1991 should be tested for hepatitis C.

Victims and relatives who had gathered in Edinburgh –after a six-year wait for the report to be published – shouted “whitewash”.

The scandal has been described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, many of whom had been haemophilia patients.

Lesley and Ray added: “This means more charities, begging bowls, piecemeal payments – not a final settlement. But the fight is not over.”