As latest figures reveal that 23 people in Tamworth died from the asbestos-related lung cancer mesothelioma between 2010 and 2014, campaigners are calling for more help for sick and dying workers.

Tamworth has the 17th highest mortality rate in England and Wales for the disease at 7.5 deaths per 100,000 people. The average rate for England and Wales is 4.4 deaths per 100,000 people.

“Mesothelioma is a legacy of Britain’s industrial heritage,” said Jonathan Wheeler, president of not-for-profit group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) which campaigns for the rights of exposed workers and their families. “Thankfully, employers nowadays are more aware of the dangers of exposing workers to asbestos. But those who were exposed 30 or 40 years ago are now facing death sentences for simply turning up to work.

“Our members are lawyers and many of them see former dockworkers, factory workers, tradesmen and even teachers, who have never worked in heavy industry but have been exposed in schools, seeking compensation to make them comfortable in their final months, and to ensure their families will be fine financially. But because records have been lost or destroyed over time, it is not always possible to track down the former employers’ insurers.

“There is now a Government fund of last resort for them to turn to in that eventuality but it doesn’t quite go far enough. It needs to be extended to include other asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, so that other suffering workers can get the justice they need and deserve.”

Once asbestos fibres are disturbed they can become permanently lodged inside a person’s lungs causing scarring and eventually mesothelioma. This asbestos-related cancer currently has no cure and has a long latency period, taking anything between 10-40 years for any symptoms to show.

If you or a family member have been affected by mesothelioma, please contact us on 0800 294 3065 where we will be able to help and advise you in the best way possible.