Cameron vows to review compensation for veterans suffering asbestos-related disease


With a large number of sufferers and around 2,500 deaths each year, mesothelioma is a devastating disease. Caused by exposure to asbestos dust, this form of lung cancer is often seen in retired industry workers and those who served in the war. The disease often arises decades after the initial exposure.

So why is it, then, that the current compensation for veterans with mesothelioma is nearly £150,000 less than others would receive?

This question was addressed to our own Prime Minister recently. Labour MP Dave Anderson challenged PM David Cameron not long after The Independent made clear just how drastic the gap in compensation was, which also prompted former military chiefs and service charities to demand action.

Current laws protect the Ministry of Defence from being sued for compensation for any illness or injury caused before 1987. Due to mesothelioma appearing decades after initial exposure, this leaves those currently suffering with the disease dependent on a much smaller war pension.

The government’s current compensation scheme for civilians sees a 63-year old receive a lump sum of £180,000, while those suffering from mesothelioma typically receive just £31,000 a year.

However, the Prime Minister is set to review how mesothelioma sufferers are compensated, in news that has been widely well-received.

Chris Simpkins, director general of the Royal British Legion. stated that the gap in compensation “is a clear breach of the Armed Forces Covenant. We look forward to the government coming forward with a solution soon.”

Rhod Palmer, a 62-year-old retired commodore, was diagnosed with mesothelioma earlier this year. He stated that “It would be terrific if the Prime Minister brought his full weight to bear on the subject and ensured that Service sufferers of mesothelioma, current and not just future claimants, would be properly compensated and not disadvantaged in comparison to civilian victims of asbestos.”

Fred Minall was a mechanical engineer in the Royal Navy between 1957 and 1965. Another sufferer of the disease, he said that “People who are currently suffering this dreadful disease have served the Country, they deserve to be treated like all citizens and they should not be left in the knowledge they will probably die before the Government will do the honourable thing.”

Such suffering further highlights the urgency of a review of the compensation scheme, as does a quote from Madeleine Moon MP, a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee: “Sadly time is not on the side of those who were exposed to asbestos. The PM must give a firm commitment to bring RN personnel into the same compensation scheme as civilians.”

We can only agree strongly with such sentiments here at Trident Surveying. The dangers of asbestos exposure are all too real, which is why we are dedicated to providing reliable and professional asbestos surveying. We provide a wide range of services, including asbestos awareness training and asbestos air testing.

HSE statistics and death of Redditch man prompt asbestos protection call

HSE image

The recent death of a Redditch man, together with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s release of new statistics showing that more than 5,000 people died from asbestos-related diseases in 2013, has led to a prominent law firm calling for employers to fulfil their duty in better protecting their workers from potential exposure to the deadly substance.

David Henry William Wolfe died aged 78 at his home in Redditch, Worcestershire. His death was caused by mesothelioma – a cancer of the lungs or stomach lining that has long been associated with asbestos exposure. A verdict was reached at his inquest a week after his death on 19th October 2015; his deteriorating health and eventual death deemed to be caused by exposure to asbestos in the workplace.

Wolfe’s death lead to asbestos diseases experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell calling for improvements in how asbestos is monitored, managed and handled. Alida Coates, a Partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at the firm’s Birmingham office, stated: “The HSE has been working hard in recent years to reduce the number of people being exposed to asbestos in the workplace.”

Stats from HSE show that more than 5,000 deaths were attributable to asbestos-related diseases in 2013 alone, with 2538 of these being from mesothelioma.

HSE has also predicted that around 2,500 deaths a year would occur per year from mesothelioma for the remainder of the 2010s, prior to annual numbers beginning to decline. Coates also stated that many of the current mesothelioma cases could be attributed to asbestos exposure from decades ago, with the impact on such individuals’ health sometimes only just becoming apparent.

She continued:  “Many older buildings, including hospitals and schools, still contain asbestos and, while the risk is relatively low if the material is not disturbed, the consequences can be devastating for those who inhale the fibres when they are released into the air.

“Employers have a duty to protect their workers and we hope that everything possible will be done to prevent any further unnecessary deaths.”

These are sentiments that we can sadly only agree with here at Trident Surveying. That is why we would always urge that employers or organisations concerned about the potential presence of the harmful fibres in their premises immediately contact a reputable specialist in asbestos surveying and asbestos air testing – such as ourselves – to ensure their utmost peace of mind and the safety of their personnel.


Download Our Free Asbestos Guide Client Login
Trident Surveying is a member of the NECC Trident Surveying are ConstructionLine Pre-Qualified Trident Surveyors are CHAS Accredited Trident Surveyors are CSCS Card Holders Trident Surveyors are RSPH qualified
Trident Surveying Ltd, Unit 5, North Hylton House, North Hylton Road, Sunderland. SR5 3AD
Copyright Trident Surveying Ltd 2013
Company Registered No: 05985210 (England). VAT Registration No: GB 898 3377 54