The blow dealt by the recent let down from the Government, ruling out mesothelioma compensation for pleural plaques sufferers, was softened by plans announced to create an Employers’ Liability Tracing Bureau and the setting up of a UK National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease.
A petition calling for the set-up of a National Centre for Asbestos-Related Diseases (NCARD), with the backing of personal injury and asbestosis lawyers, had been put previously to the Government. In November 2009, the Asbestos Sub-Committee of the All Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health met up to discuss various asbestos-related issues. On the agenda was NCARD, and MPs were told that it was “moving forward” and “progressing quite rapidly”.
On February 25th,the Government accompanied the negative pleural plaques ruling with an outlined plan to commit £3m funding towards the Centre, as well as increasing state funded lump sum payments to dependant family members.
There has long been an urgent need in the UK to establish a National Centre to research effective treatments for asbestos-related conditions, such as asbestosis and in particular, malignant mesothelioma, for which the UK has one of the highest reported incidence rates.
The UK was a leader in the manufacture of asbestos products, and consequently has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world.
A NCARD Strategy Document was recently published highlighting their objective to be a virtual network centre. It would link the best UK researchers together with others from around the world and act as a focal point for the attraction of significant dedicated funds.
The Strategy Document already highlights the significant need to increase research and funding in the UK into asbestos-related diseases, and in particular, develop more effective treatments for malignant mesothelioma.
Another key objective of NCARD will be to increase asbestos awareness of the ever present dangers of exposure and help dispel commonly held misconceptions, especially with regard to white asbestos. The setting up of NCARD could be of long term benefit to the adoption of enlightened attitudes and easing the asbestos compensation process for sufferers pursuing claims.