Arthur Raftery’s Case In Parliament.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070124/debtext/70124-0021.htm

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the case of Arthur Rafferty. I know of Arthur Rafferty’s resolute campaign to try to get the matter looked into, not just for himself but for his fellow dock workers. The Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Maria Eagle), recently met Mr. Rafferty to discuss his concerns and try to assist him. My officials have been in correspondence with Mr. Rafferty to ensure that his entitlement, or possible entitlement, to benefits under the Pneumoconiosis, etc., (Workers’ Compensation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 has been fully explored.
24 Jan 2007 : Column 1529
Mr. Rafferty quite rightly feels that Belfast dock workers have been treated less favourably than the former employees of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. They worked side by side in the dock area of Belfast. Harland and Wolff had been in public ownership since 1975, until the shipbuilding trades and assets were sold to Harland and Wolff 1989 Ltd.

Government funding for employer liability and public liability claims in relation to Harland and Wolff stems from our legal responsibilities as an employer. Likewise, it remains the duty of other employers to meet their legal liabilities for claims brought by current or former employees. The Government have paid £37 million in liabilities since 2001 in the settlement of claims.

The pneumoconiosis order provides compensation for certain employees suffering from dust-related diseases, including asbestosis. The scheme provides help, support and compensation for sufferers and their dependants if they cannot claim compensation from the employer. The order was designed to cater for diseases with a long latency period, and to deal with the possibility that by the time the disease was diagnosed the employer might no longer be in existence. Essentially, we try to provide compensation if there is no employer from whom to seek compensation. If the employer is still in existence—and I believe that that may well apply in Mr. Rafferty’s case—the remedy for people suffering from such diseases is to seek compensation from them. Like the hon. Member for Belfast, North, I appreciate that that is difficult and takes time, but he will agree that it is not right for the taxpayer to pick up the cost of compensation for something that is the employer’s responsibility. The Government pay compensation if they are the employer, and employers that are still in existence should pay compensation in similar cases.

The hon. Gentleman raised the issue of the time taken to process compensation, and I accept that that is a difficult problem. With my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, I am looking into the problems faced in particular by people suffering from mesothelioma, which can be caused by a single asbestos fibre, and may progress rapidly, with many sufferers dying within 18 months of the onset of the illness. On 1 September last year, we issued a consultation paper on ways in which we could speed up the process for obtaining compensation, and the hon. Gentleman graciously paid tribute to the Government for that work. We are working with the legal profession and a range of bodies and organisations, including insurers, interest groups and others, to put in place measures to help to speed up those claims. I noted the points that the hon. Gentleman made about that, and we shall certainly contact the Association of British Insurers to try to address the problems faced by people seeking compensation in Northern Ireland that were identified in the consultation. I will consider the issues raised made by the hon. Gentleman, and if appropriate, I will follow them up with the relevant agencies.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the House of Lords judgment on Barker v. Corus. That issue is close to my heart, as Mrs. Barker is a constituent of mine from Holywell, in Flintshire in north Wales. She faced the problems faced by many hon. Members’ constituents,
24 Jan 2007 : Column 1530
as multiple employers avoided their responsibility to pay compensation for the death of her husband. With support, she took her case to the House of Lords, but the judgment did not help her. I am proud to say that, in response to pressure from a number of Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone and myself as her constituency MP, the Government tabled an amendment to the Compensation Bill to remove the significant hurdle raised by the judgment, which would have caused delays and made it more difficult for sufferers to recover full compensation from former employers. I am pleased that we were able to extend the provisions of the Compensation Act 2006 so that they offer equal cover to Northern Irish citizens. I hope that in future that will prevent such difficulties arising.

In 2005, the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council—the independent body that advises the Government on matters relating to industrial injuries disablement benefit—published a report on asbestos-related diseases. The Government accepted its recommendations, and industrial injuries disablement benefit is payable in relation to a number of prescribed diseases suffered by people whose jobs involved working with, or being exposed to, asbestos. Those diseases are pneumoconiosis, including asbestosis; mesothelioma; primary carcinoma of the lung, whether or not accompanied by asbestosis; and diffuse pleural thickening. Under the industrial injuries scheme, such individuals are entitled to industrial injuries disablement benefit, and do not necessarily have to prove employer liability or a causal link. It is necessary only to establish an occupational link.

The hon. Gentleman raised the significant issue of pleural plaques, which I know is of concern to him. I am grateful to him for drawing it to my attention again today. In 2005, in its report on asbestos-related diseases, the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council recommended that pleural plaques should not be added to list of prescribed diseases for the purposes of industrial injuries disablement benefit, on the basis of a lack of evidence that pleural plaques cause sufficient impairment of lung function to cause disability. I understand that in civil litigation pleural plaques may attract compensation, as he said, but that is normally for psychological distress and the associated risk of other asbestos-related diseases.

When the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council considered its recommendation on pleural plaques, it examined a number of issues, and looked into the matter carefully. It continues to monitor research and will keep the issue under review. At the moment, I cannot help the hon. Gentleman on that matter, but if he has further evidence or additional information that might be of help to the advisory council, now that the 2005 consideration has taken place, he should draw it to the council’s attention, because it will continue to monitor and review the situation. For the people who suffer from the appalling illnesses that we are discussing, depending on the individual’s circumstances, help is available from a range of social security benefits to assist with income, care and mobility needs. They include incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, attendance allowance, carer’s allowance and income support.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the important issue of family members and other relatives. I am
24 Jan 2007 : Column 1531
particularly keen to examine that issue, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has been considering the matter carefully. The industrial injuries disablement benefit scheme is being reviewed, and the issue of exposure through contact with relatives is part of that review. I hope that my right hon. Friend and I can make an announcement on the outcome of that review in short order. We will examine carefully both the representations that the hon. Gentleman made this evening, and representations made on behalf of family members across Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. This issue is important, and the review is ongoing. We expect it to report shortly, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be patient in awaiting the outcome of that review.

We have made clear our intention to review the industrial injuries scheme to ensure that it remains fit for purpose in the changing work environment of the 21st century. The hon. Gentleman raised a number of key issues that are important not just to his constituents but to mine, as I said earlier. The Government have a good record on helping to support, define and welcome the assistance that we can give to former Government employees, for whom we have a
24 Jan 2007 : Column 1532
responsibility. We will continue to support and develop schemes to help former Government employees and ensure that they get what is due to them under compensation schemes.

Mr. Rafferty’s case is different, because he was employed in a part of the docks adjacent to the area in which the Harland and Wolff scheme, operated by the Government, applies. I know that he finds that difficult to accept, but the responsibility lies with his then employer. The Government have made efforts to ensure, through the changes made under Barker v. Corus and the Compensation Act 2006, that we give whatever help we can. I hope that my comments have been of help to the hon. Gentleman. He raises an important point, and we will continue to monitor the situation. I shall certainly write to him on the outcome of the review of those important issues, which is being taken forward by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Social Development Department. I hope that I have responded to the hon. Gentleman’s points, and I am grateful to him for bringing them to the attention of the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-nine minutes past Seven o’clock.

Version:1.0 StartHTML:000000224 EndHTML:000052589 StartFragment:000009787 EndFragment:000052557 StartSelection:000009938 EndSelection:000052517 SourceURL:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2007-01-24b.1525.0 Asbestosis (Compensation): 24 Jan 2007: House of Commons debates – TheyWorkForYou

Asbestosis (Compensation)

– in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 24th January 2007.

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Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn. —[Mr. Alan Campbell.]

Nigel Dodds Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury) 7:02 pm, 24th January 2007

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker [ Interruption. ]

Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. We are now holding the Adjournment debate, so will Members who want to leave the Chamber please do so quickly and quietly?

Nigel Dodds Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. For a fleeting moment, I feared we might lose the opportunity to debate the important subject of compensation for victims of asbestosis in Northern Ireland.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to raise that important issue. Deaths from asbestos-related diseases are, sadly, on the increase. Figures from the TUC put the number of deaths at about 5,000 a year. By 2020, it is estimated that the number of deaths per year will be about 10,000— [ Interruption. ] Independent studies indicate that for the period 1930-2020 the number of asbestos-induced deaths across the country could be in the region of 820,000—

Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Can my hon. Friend be allowed to speak without the assembly of Members at the Door?

Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

That is a sensible point of order. I was about to do something about that myself. May we please have the Doors closed?

Nigel Dodds Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This is an important issue, which affects the lives of ordinary workers throughout this country, so it is important that it be debated properly.

The asbestos industry is, of course, hundreds of years old, but only since the early 1900s has asbestos been recognised as potentially harmful. Despite that recognition in the early part of the last century, asbestos continued to be used in industry and the workplace for many years, particularly in shipyards, harbours, ports and so forth. As a result, thousands of workers developed asbestos-related diseases.

As a consequence, we are now seeing a large number of claims for compensation arising from these diseases on the part of thousands of shipyard workers, those who worked in the docks and many other workers as well. Actuarial estimates predict that by the 2030s, between 80,000 and 200,000 claims—peaking between 2010 and 2015—will be made. Behind those bare statistics—a terrible enough story in themselves—lie stories of real human tragedies.

I would like to pay tribute to the groups of workers who came together to try to get justice for the victims of asbestos-related diseases—groups like Justice for Asbestos Victims in my own constituency—and to individuals who took up the cudgels to fight not only on behalf of themselves and their family members, but on behalf of their fellow workers. One such person is Arthur Rafferty. Arthur, one of my constituents, is in his mid-60s. He worked in the docks all his life, as did his father and grandfather, and in his early years he was an amateur boxer and a fit young man with great prospects ahead of him. Now, in his mid-60s, he is stricken with the terrible, debilitating disease of asbestosis and has a very poor outlook in respect of quality of life and life expectancy. Arthur’s case is typical of many in his position.

I would like to highlight a number of issues tonight and I hope that the Minister will be able to respond to some of them. The sort of cases that I am referring to affect not just the workers afflicted with asbestosis but their family members as well.

First, I would like to say that I welcome the Government’s decision last year to amend the Compensation Act 2006, which meant that from July onwards a worker could sue an employer regardless of the length of service with that employer and that there would be joint and several liability. A worker was no longer placed in a position where all previous employers had to be traced and then sued in order to gain full compensation. Now, as a result of the amendment that reversed the Barker v. Corus decision in the House Lords, workers can access compensation through the civil courts and gain proper compensation. I know many people—Arthur Rafferty is one of them—who are pursuing their cases through the courts.

What we need to ensure, however, is that these cases are dealt with as quickly and expeditiously as possible, so that people faced with this terrible disease do not end up spending the twilight of their years fighting, along with their families, for compensation. They should at least be able to benefit—enjoy is the wrong word—from the compensation that is rightly theirs and their family’s.

I know that the Government—and the Social Development Department in Northern Ireland—have conducted a consultation relating to a number of issues in order to put in place a long-term solution to ensure that, where possible, sufferers of asbestosis and mesothelioma can receive compensation and benefit from it at the same time, knowing that their families will be secure in the future. There are plans to hold a summit on asbestos-related diseases and to consider further the industrial injuries disablement benefit and so on.

I welcome what the Government are doing to address these issues in the long term. However, I caution them that it is important we do not end up with the insurance lobby or insurance companies managing to divert claimants away from their entitlement to take cases to the civil courts and to obtain proper and adequate compensation for themselves and their families. People must receive not only damages that reflect the harm caused to them, but damages for pain and suffering. They must not end up being diverted simply into claiming state benefits for relief. They must still have the opportunity to go to the civil courts to get proper compensation.

I want to raise the issue of family members and relatives. A number of my constituents have come to see me because they are concerned that those family members who contract asbestosis or an asbestos-related disease from incidental exposure can be denied compensation in the courts, as a result of the English Court of Appeal‘s decision in the case of Maguire v. Harland and Woolf. In one example, a lady ended up dying as a result of asbestosis, which was contracted as a result of washing her father’s overalls as a young girl.

There are many other examples of wives and family members who have died as a result of such exposure, yet they are denied compensation. I believe that the way to deal with that is further to amend the legislation and the law, so that if an employee has been exposed to asbestos by the negligence or the breach of statutory duty of an employer and if a member of that employee’s family has also suffered an asbestos-related disease by reason of incidental exposure, the member of the family should likewise have a claim for damages.

I have been in correspondence with the Department for Constitutional Affairs about this matter. On 3 January, Baroness Ashton wrote to me to say that a number of people who took part in the consultation on the issue mentioned para-occupational exposures. She said:

“Officials are currently assessing the responses to the consultation and Government will…develop some options for action”.

I believe that that is progress—it is good news—but a difficulty will continue if there is no retrospective remedy.

With existing para-occupational exposures, particularly where the deceased’s dependants are suffering from financial hardship and where negligence has occurred in respect of the employment of the employee, there may very well be instances of severe injustice. It is likely that damages should not be paid out of the public purse where a negligent employer can be identified. So I believe that a simple amendment to the Compensation Act 2006 to extend the relief that was granted to employees to the family members of employees would remedy the situation, as well as being fair and equitable in all the circumstances.

I also want to raise the issue of those who suffer from the asbestos-related disease of pleural plaques, whereby exposure to asbestos results in internal scarring on the lining of the lung. It leads to breathlessness and pain. It can result in the development of more serious asbestos-related diseases. It severely affects many people’s quality of life. Again, as the result of a decision in the English Court of Appeal—the Rothwell case—it has been decided that people can no longer claim compensation if pleural plaques have been contracted as a result of exposure to asbestos.

I know that that case is subject to a further appeal to the House of Lords, but as things currently stand and if the law is not changed, the Rothwell decision will put the onus on a person to engage in a process of ongoing medical monitoring of their condition, as well as ongoing legal monitoring of the position, to see whether they eventually have a case. That constant monitoring is clearly not to be welcomed on behalf of men who are mostly elderly and in grave poor health. It is quite possible that many will die without the appropriate medical evidence having been obtained during their lifetime. This is an important issue that affects thousands of ordinary workers. Their health has been gravely affected through no fault of their own. There is a liability and the Government should look at ways of addressing the issue of pleural plaques.

I refer the Minister to the case of dock workers, in particular. I referred to Arthur Rafferty and a number of former dock workers in my constituency and in the city of Belfast. In May last year, in the case of Rice v. the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, the High Court ruled that former dock workers have the right to sue the Government for compensation for asbestos-related illnesses. The Department of Trade and Industry was held partly responsible for the health and safety of workers at docks throughout England and Wales in the 1950s and 1960s. It was held that dock labour boards, which organised the work of dockers, were not entitled to pass on all the responsibility to the shipping companies that carried asbestos cargos and that they owed the dockers—many of them causal labourers—a duty of care. That is an important ruling, because it puts responsibility not just on employers, but on the Department. It also widens that whole area of liability. I would be grateful if the Minister could address that in terms of the Northern Ireland context, in particular. I am grateful for the opportunity to have raised these issues and I look forward to the Minister’s response.

David Hanson The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 7:17 pm, 24th January 2007

I congratulate Mr. Dodds on securing an important debate for him and for his constituents, which will have wider implications throughout Northern Ireland. I am grateful for the support that he has received from Rev. Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson. I pay particular tribute to my hon. Friend Mr. Clapham, who has done considerable work on this issue. I am pleased to see my hon. Friend Mr. Jones in the Chamber, as well. They obviously care strongly about the subject.

I commend the hon. Member for Belfast, North on the way in which he has presented his case. As he said, no one can fail to be touched by the plight of the people he referred to. They are ordinary working people who have been affected by a terrible illness as a result of their work-related activity. As he mentioned, the number of those deaths in Northern Ireland is currently approximately 120 a year. Asbestosis is now the most common cause of work-related death in Northern Ireland. I am conscious that behind the statistics lie real people, real lives and, as he said, those people’s families.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the case of Arthur Rafferty. I know of Arthur Rafferty’s resolute campaign to try to get the matter looked into, not just for himself but for his fellow dock workers. The Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my hon. Friend Maria Eagle, recently met Mr. Rafferty to discuss his concerns and try to assist him. My officials have been in correspondence with Mr. Rafferty to ensure that his entitlement, or possible entitlement, to benefits under the Pneumoconiosis, etc., (Workers’ Compensation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 has been fully explored. Mr. Rafferty quite rightly feels that Belfast dock workers have been treated less favourably than the former employees of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. They worked side by side in the dock area of Belfast. Harland and Wolff had been in public ownership since 1975, until the shipbuilding trades and assets were sold to Harland and Wolff 1989 Ltd.

Government funding for employer liability and public liability claims in relation to Harland and Wolff stems from our legal responsibilities as an employer. Likewise, it remains the duty of other employers to meet their legal liabilities for claims brought by current or former employees. The Government have paid £37 million in liabilities since 2001 in the settlement of claims.

The pneumoconiosis order provides compensation for certain employees suffering from dust-related diseases, including asbestosis. The scheme provides help, support and compensation for sufferers and their dependants if they cannot claim compensation from the employer. The order was designed to cater for diseases with a long latency period, and to deal with the possibility that by the time the disease was diagnosed the employer might no longer be in existence. Essentially, we try to provide compensation if there is no employer from whom to seek compensation. If the employer is still in existence—and I believe that that may well apply in Mr. Rafferty’s case—the remedy for people suffering from such diseases is to seek compensation from them. Like the hon. Member for Belfast, North, I appreciate that that is difficult and takes time, but he will agree that it is not right for the taxpayer to pick up the cost of compensation for something that is the employer’s responsibility. The Government pay compensation if they are the employer, and employers that are still in existence should pay compensation in similar cases.

The hon. Gentleman raised the issue of the time taken to process compensation, and I accept that that is a difficult problem. With my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, I am looking into the problems faced in particular by people suffering from mesothelioma, which can be caused by a single asbestos fibre, and may progress rapidly, with many sufferers dying within 18 months of the onset of the illness. On 1 September last year, we issued a consultation paper on ways in which we could speed up the process for obtaining compensation, and the hon. Gentleman graciously paid tribute to the Government for that work. We are working with the legal profession and a range of bodies and organisations, including insurers, interest groups and others, to put in place measures to help to speed up those claims. I noted the points that the hon. Gentleman made about that, and we shall certainly contact the Association of British Insurers to try to address the problems faced by people seeking compensation in Northern Ireland that were identified in the consultation. I will consider the issues raised made by the hon. Gentleman, and if appropriate, I will follow them up with the relevant agencies.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the House of Lords judgment on Barker v. Corus. That issue is close to my heart, as Mrs. Barker is a constituent of mine from Holywell, in Flintshire in north Wales. She faced the problems faced by many hon. Members’ constituents, as multiple employers avoided their responsibility to pay compensation for the death of her husband. With support, she took her case to the House of Lords, but the judgment did not help her. I am proud to say that, in response to pressure from a number of Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone and myself as her constituency MP, the Government tabled an amendment to the Compensation Bill to remove the significant hurdle raised by the judgment, which would have caused delays and made it more difficult for sufferers to recover full compensation from former employers. I am pleased that we were able to extend the provisions of the Compensation Act 2006 so that they offer equal cover to Northern Irish citizens. I hope that in future that will prevent such difficulties arising.

In 2005, the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council—the independent body that advises the Government on matters relating to industrial injuries disablement benefit—published a report on asbestos-related diseases. The Government accepted its recommendations, and industrial injuries disablement benefit is payable in relation to a number of prescribed diseases suffered by people whose jobs involved working with, or being exposed to, asbestos. Those diseases are pneumoconiosis, including asbestosis; mesothelioma; primary carcinoma of the lung, whether or not accompanied by asbestosis; and diffuse pleural thickening. Under the industrial injuries scheme, such individuals are entitled to industrial injuries disablement benefit, and do not necessarily have to prove employer liability or a causal link. It is necessary only to establish an occupational link.

The hon. Gentleman raised the significant issue of pleural plaques, which I know is of concern to him. I am grateful to him for drawing it to my attention again today. In 2005, in its report on asbestos-related diseases, the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council recommended that pleural plaques should not be added to list of prescribed diseases for the purposes of industrial injuries disablement benefit, on the basis of a lack of evidence that pleural plaques cause sufficient impairment of lung function to cause disability. I understand that in civil litigation pleural plaques may attract compensation, as he said, but that is normally for psychological distress and the associated risk of other asbestos-related diseases.

When the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council considered its recommendation on pleural plaques, it examined a number of issues, and looked into the matter carefully. It continues to monitor research and will keep the issue under review. At the moment, I cannot help the hon. Gentleman on that matter, but if he has further evidence or additional information that might be of help to the advisory council, now that the 2005 consideration has taken place, he should draw it to the council’s attention, because it will continue to monitor and review the situation. For the people who suffer from the appalling illnesses that we are discussing, depending on the individual’s circumstances, help is available from a range of social security benefits to assist with income, care and mobility needs. They include incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, attendance allowance, carer’s allowance and income support.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the important issue of family members and other relatives. I am particularly keen to examine that issue, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has been considering the matter carefully. The industrial injuries disablement benefit scheme is being reviewed, and the issue of exposure through contact with relatives is part of that review. I hope that my right hon. Friend and I can make an announcement on the outcome of that review in short order. We will examine carefully both the representations that the hon. Gentleman made this evening, and representations made on behalf of family members across Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. This issue is important, and the review is ongoing. We expect it to report shortly, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be patient in awaiting the outcome of that review.

We have made clear our intention to review the industrial injuries scheme to ensure that it remains fit for purpose in the changing work environment of the 21st century. The hon. Gentleman raised a number of key issues that are important not just to his constituents but to mine, as I said earlier. The Government have a good record on helping to support, define and welcome the assistance that we can give to former Government employees, for whom we have a responsibility. We will continue to support and develop schemes to help former Government employees and ensure that they get what is due to them under compensation schemes.

Mr. Rafferty’s case is different, because he was employed in a part of the docks adjacent to the area in which the Harland and Wolff scheme, operated by the Government, applies. I know that he finds that difficult to accept, but the responsibility lies with his then employer. The Government have made efforts to ensure, through the changes made under Barker v. Corus and the Compensation Act 2006, that we give whatever help we can. I hope that my comments have been of help to the hon. Gentleman. He raises an important point, and we will continue to monitor the situation. I shall certainly write to him on the outcome of the review of those important issues, which is being taken forward by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Social Development Department. I hope that I have responded to the hon. Gentleman’s points, and I am grateful to him for bringing them to the attention of the House.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2007-01-24b.1525.0

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-nine minutes past Seven o’clock.

The Arthur Rafferty Story.

Misdiagnosis of Asbestosis.

The Evidence.

A Full Diagnosis of asbestosis by a 2nd opinion.

Dr Joe Kidney Of The Mater Hospital Diagnosing asbestosis like the other doctor above.

Thousands could have undiagnosed killer lung disease from the doctor who says you have asbestosis Arthur No he says I made a mistake and you don’t have it.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/thousands-could-have-undiagnosed-killer-lung-disease-28538786.html

Joe Kidney

MB BCh, BAO, FRCPI, MD
Non-Executive Director

Joe_Kidney
If We Can Get it Right First Time.

Dr Kidney has served on the Board of Directors of HiberGene Diagnostics since 2009. He has an extensive experience and special interest in respiratory medicine with particular emphasis on airways disease, respiratory failure and sleep. He is currently conducting advanced research in the relationship of COPD and certain infectious diseases.

For 17 years since 1998, Dr Kidney has worked as Consultant Physician at the Mater Hospital Belfast. Dr Kidney was a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in the USA from 1996 to 1997. He was a Clinical Fellow in Johns Hopkins from 1995 to 1996. He was a Research Fellow at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada from 1992 to 1995. He conducted his doctoral research at the Brompton Hospital and National Heart and Lung Institute from 1989 to 1992 and was awarded MD in 1995 (NUI). He is currently a Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and is a regular examiner in Part 2 of the MRCPI and was Hospital Dean for the exam in The Mater Hospital Belfast for 7 years. Dr Kidney graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 with MB BCh and BAO.

http://www.hibergene.com/about/board-of-directors/

I am Arthur Rafferty I have it now I dont says Belfast nhs trust.
Actually I do have asbestosis ?

A north Belfast man dying from asbestosis is to sue Belfast Health and Social Care Trust for what he claims was a “wrongful diagnosis” after going though what he described as seven “tough years”.

Arthur Rafferty, 69, who worked for shipping magnates George Heyn & Sons for 25 years, was first diagnosed with the killer disease in June 2002 at the Mater Hospital.

Since then he has sought compensation from his former employers. However, in 2007 the Mater came back to Mr Rafferty. He said that they told him that he did not have asbestosis, but would have it in the future. He was then told by Judge Patrick Coughlin that the case against George Heyn & Sons would be put on hold until he had confirmation of the disease.

However this year he went to visit a specialist in Liverpool who confirmed Mr Rafferty was suffering from asbestosis.

He now says he wants justice for his ordeal.

Mr Rafferty said: “I worked as a docker for 25 years.

“My chest is away. Every morning I am bringing up phlegm and sometimes blood. I used to be a professional boxer and never drank or smoked but now I can’t even walk too far.

“When I first went to the Mater Hospital they told me I had asbestosis and there was nothing they could do for me — I was going to die.

“I went every six months for all those years for treatment and then in 2007 they told me I didn’t have it.”

Mr Rafferty said he then fought with the trust for two years to get to see a specialist in Liverpool. The specialist concluded that he did have asbestosis.

He has now launched a case against the trust for “wrongful diagnosis”.

He added: “I’m really annoyed about how I have been treated (by the trust). I have been fighting this for years. I want to know why they got the results wrong.”

Mr Rafferty has established a committee, Justice for Dockers — of which he is chairman — to fight for those suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, who has been working with Mr Rafferty for years in his fight for justice, said: “I fully support Arthur and his quest for justice and compensation.

“I have raised his case in the House Of Commons and other forums and I will continue to give my support where necessary.

“Time is running out for this man and his case needs to be seen to as a matter of urgency.”

A spokeswoman for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said they could not comment due to a pending legal case.

A spokesman for George Heyn & Sons said: “We can’t comment on individual cases, however we do sympathise with anyone who is suffering from asbestosis.

“We now recognise the dangers of working with asbestos and thankfully workers at Heyn do not have to work in that environment.”

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/north-belfast-man-is-set-to-sue-bhsct-28479759.html

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/80499

Arthur Rafferty and other dockers are dying of Asbestosis

Would all Trade Unionists especially those in Atgwu and Siptu reflect for a moment on the plight of Arthur Rafferty and the other Belfast Dockers who’ve contracted Asbestos because of their union.

Arthur and the others can lay the blame for their premature deaths at the door of corrupt union officials. They knew of the dangers of this deadly substance but ignored it to make more profit for the employers.

I can’t find words vile enough to describe these contemptuous purveyors of death, who, while pretending to be good steadfast advocates of trade unionism hypocritically allowed and encouraged non-union men to be employed. While ensuring that members of ITGWU were always paid up members, {they ensured this by heavy fines.} Thus Arthur and the others condemned to death by the collaboration of their union, were at the time, fully paid up members of ITGWU..

Seeing that no-one from SIPTU or ICTU will meet Arthur, in a gesture of desperation he’s asked to meet Mick O’Reilly of Atgwu. Maybe the leader of a union he never belonged to will be able to make the Trade Union Movement treat himself and the other dying Dockers with respect.

A while back David Begg of ICTU was complaining about the rights of workers in China. I wrote to him {again} and reminded him of the Belfast Dockers, and stated, Belfast is a lot closer than China.

To myself and others, who’ve been deprived of our livelihoods by ITGWU for wanting fair play for workers, ICTU was always a sick joke.
But we never though they’d stoop so low as to refuse to meet dying men who’re being deprived of their lives – or to champion their rights.

Peter Mcloone, David Begg and all the other so-called trade unionists in ICTU are a disgrace to Larkin and Connolly’s memory.
There’s no difference between today’s in the Partnership here in the South, and the collaboration which ITGWU entered into with the employers in the North.

This unholy alliance was called THE NORTHERN IRELAND FEDERATION OF EMPLOYERS AND IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS UNION JOINT DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE.

Whatever happened to “An injury to one is the concern of all, etc, and One Big Union…? Ooops, sorry, now it’s called One Big Employers Union – and uses Belfast as its template.

I am asking Trade Unionists to comment on this corruption and SIPTU and ICTU’S treatment of dying men.

The Evidence.

Dr Wendy Anderson.

Dr Wendy Anderson Leading Northern Ireland Specialist Is She Lying ?
Dr Wendy Anderson on the radio.
Divisional Medical Director Dr Wendy Anderson
http://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/pdf/Organisation_Structure_Chart_December_2015.pdf
https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2016-10-19/experts-demand-improvement-in-ni-lung-cancer-survival-rates/

Changes to treatment of lung cancer ‘could save 300 lives a year’


https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/changes-to-treatment-of-lung-cancer-could-save-300-lives-a-year-35141713.html


Dr Tony Stevens.

Im The Boss Tony Stevens.
http://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/about/2407.htm

Dr Tony Stevens
Chief Executive

Dr Tony Stevens was appointed as Chief Executive of the Northern Trust on 1 August 2014. Since then he has driven a challenging service reform programme to create a practitioner-led organisation with a clear focus on partnerships across the health and care sector and locally delivered services. He has prioritised an open culture, robust governance systems and an ambitious organisational development strategy to underpin reform and modernisation.
Previously, he was Medical Director for the Belfast Trust and before this he held the roles of Deputy Medical Director and Director of Risk and Occupational Health with the Royal Hospitals Trust. He was instrumental in embedding governance arrangements across the Belfast Trust, as well as the Trust’s Assurance Framework. He was also Executive Lead for quality, safety and public health.
Tony has practiced as an Occupational Physician in different employment sectors and has had a twenty-year career in medical management and leadership.
Contact 
Karen O’Kane
Executive Office Manager
Tel: 028 9442 4327
Email: karen.okane@northerntrust.hscni.net


The Bad Apples.

https://www.dcyoutube.org/channel/UCiNTaLeP7Cux3445A-d_16Q

Asbestos Disease Awareness Personal Stories.

Belfast man to sue care trust for asbestosis misdiagnosis

A Northern Ireland man suffering from an asbestos-related ailment is to enlist the services of a solicitor to sue the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust for getting his diagnosis wrong, it has been reported.

https://www.wilson-nesbitt.com/news-updates/Asbestos-Related-Claims/2269/Belfast-man-to-sue-care-trust-for-asbestosis-misdiagnosis

First diagnosed with asbestosis in 2002 at the Mater Hospital, 69-year old Arthur Rafferty wants to sue the hospital for misleading him about whether he had the disease, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

According to Mr Rafferty, the hospital’s misdiagnosis led to his compensation case against his employer of 25 years George Heyn & Sons to be put on hold until it he actually contracted the disease.

It took a Liverpool specialist to confirm this year that he actually had the disease and Mr Rafferty now wants to take action for what he says was a “tough” ordeal.

According to the newspaper, the sufferer has now set up a committee known as Justice for Dockers, whose main remit is to represent individuals suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

Carpenters born in the 1940s are most likely to develop mesothelioma, a Health and Safety Executive study recently concluded.

Lyn Harris, head of employment and litigation at Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors said: “Asbestos exposure may not manifest itself as harmful for years after exposure and we would strongly urge anyone with symptoms who has come into contact with this material in the past to see their doctor and to contact us.”

Ms Harris is accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers as a senior litigator and Wilson Nesbitt is an accredited practice.
Contact us for legal advice

https://www.dcyoutube.org/channel/UCiNTaLeP7Cux3445A-d_16Q
 

News Categories

Asbestos a tale of public health & politics.

https://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/blog/imperial-medicine/2018/02/02/the-asbestos-story-a-tale-of-public-health-and-politics/

2 February 2018

An eye-opening account by Professor Sir Tony Newman Taylor on how asbestos has gone from ‘magic mineral’ to deadly dust that can cause mesothelioma.


Public awareness of the hazards of asbestos can be dated to the period immediately following the death of Nellie Kershaw aged 33 in 1924.  She had worked during the previous seven years in a textile factory spinning asbestos fibre into yarn. She died of severe fibrosis of the lungs. The pathologist, William Cooke, who found retained asbestos fibres in the lungs, called the cause of death asbestosis.  Nellie Kershaw was not the first case to be reported of lung fibrosis caused by asbestos. Montague Murray in 1899 had reported the case of a 33-year-old man who had worked for 14 years in an asbestos textile factory. He had died of fibrosis of the lungs which Montague Murray, also finding asbestos in the lungs, had attributed to inhaled asbestos fibres.  The patient had told Murray he was the only survivor from ten others who had worked in his workshop.

However, unlike the Montague Murray case, which had aroused little interest, the death of Nellie Kershaw and its cause was widely reported. It led to the government commissioning the Chief Inspector of Factories, Edward Merewether, with an engineer, Charles Price, to report on workers’ health in the asbestos industry. They found, among those still at work who had been employed for more than five years, one third had asbestosis and of those still working in the factory after 20 years, four-fifths had the disease.

The government introduced regulations in 1931 to control exposure to asbestos, together with arrangements for regular medical surveillance of the workforce and eligibility for compensation for factory workers with asbestosis. A benefit commented on by the workers in one factory was a clock on the wall becoming visible to them for the first time.

 The Asbestos Story: a tale of public health and politics

In the early 20th century asbestos was considered a ‘magic mineral’. The ancient Chinese called asbestos the ‘fire rinsed cloth’, recognising it could be woven and its resistance to high temperatures.  Its current commercial exploitation started in the late 19th century, with the development of steam-powered machinery, the generation of heat and the need for insulation and fireproofing, leading to it becoming widely used on ships, steam engines and in power generating plants.

Following the 1931 Regulations in the UK, the uses of asbestos continued to widen, particularly during and after the War years. In the early 1950s Richard Doll, who had reported on the link between lung cancer and cigarette smoking in 1950, was approached by John Knox; the medical officer at the factory which had employed Nellie Kershaw, concerned that he was seeing more cases of lung cancer in the workforce than he would have expected. Doll compared the death rate of those who had worked with asbestos in the factory, with what would be expected in men of the same age in the UK. He found those employed in the factory were some ten times more likely to have died from lung cancer.  Against considerable opposition from the factory management, Doll published his findings in 1955. The company took some comfort from the fact that the increased death rate had occurred in men first employed for some ten years before the 1931 Regulations.

However, five years later, in 1960, Chris Wagner reported 33 cases of mesothelioma, a cancer that most commonly affects the linings of the lung, pleura and less commonly the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). The presentation of which was linked in all but one case to exposure to crocidolite (blue) asbestos mining in South Africa at least 20 or more years earlier.  Of particular importance, 18 cases – the majority – had not worked directly with asbestos in the mines or in insulation work, but had only been exposed in the neighbourhood of the mines. This capacity of asbestos to cause mesothelioma at low levels of exposure was confirmed in a case-control study of mesothelioma deaths using the pathology records of the London Hospital. A greater proportion of cases than controls had been employed in the local asbestos factory, had worked with asbestos or had lived in the same house as an asbestos worker.  Of those without occupational or domestic exposure to asbestos, nearly one third had lived within half a mile of the asbestos factory.

The risk of mesothelioma from neighbourhood exposure spelt the eventual death of the asbestos industry in the UK. No level of exposure above background could be regarded as safe. But the death throes have been prolonged. While increased control of asbestos exposure in recognised places of work followed further regulations in 1969, the widespread use of asbestos-containing boarding continued unrecognised and unregulated in the construction industry during the 1970s, leading to the current epidemic of mesothelioma deaths in the UK. The epidemic is anticipated to reach a peak in 2020 of some 2,500 mesothelioma deaths (with an estimated equal number of lung cancer deaths and a further 500 cases of asbestosis) occurring primarily in carpenters, who had sawed and drilled asbestos boarding, joiners, plumbers and electricians.

The incidence of mesothelioma in the UK is considered the highest in the world, followed by the rates in Holland and Australia. All forms of asbestos are now banned from import and use in the UK. However, because of the long latency of mesothelioma, an estimated 50-60,000 cases of mesothelioma will occur between 2020 and 2050 when the annual incidence will still be some 500 cases.

Meanwhile asbestos continues to be mined and used widely outside Europe and USA as a cheap effective material for insulation and fireproofing.

Professor Sir Tony Newman Taylor is Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Imperial’s National Heart & Lung Institute and a leading expert in occupational and environmental lung disease. He is also a member of the National Centre for Mesothelioma Research Management Group.