A long-awaited payment scheme for people suffering from diffuse mesothelioma has now taken effect.
The scheme will provide financial compensation to people in Guernsey or Alderney who have been exposed to asbestos and developed diffuse mesothelioma. The scheme does not, however, cover other asbestos-related conditions.
Employment & Social Security Committee received States support in June 2019 to introduce the scheme, which is projected to cost around £100,000 a year.
It comes following years of campaigning for support for those who suffered from the state's historic negligence of dangerous working conditions. Governments in the 1970s and 80s failed to put precautions in place to safeguard workers despite growing concerns about the dangers of exposure to asbestos.
“The launch of this payment scheme is likely to be bittersweet for those who have long campaigned for its introduction," said Employment & Social Security President Peter Roffey.
Pictured: The health risks of exposure to asbestos fibres were known long before safety precautions for workers were put in place.
"Mesothelioma is a terrible disease, but I’m pleased that, at last, we can introduce this payment scheme for people who have contracted diffuse mesothelioma through exposure to asbestos in Guernsey or Alderney.
“The use and management of asbestos is now strictly controlled. But it was in use commercially for many years, up to the mid-1980s, and it was decades before the link between asbestos and respiratory disease was established and accepted.
“Sadly, the use of asbestos locally, as elsewhere, has led to people being exposed to asbestos fibres. For the very unfortunate few, this has resulted in the serious diseases now known to be associated with its use.”
An amendment to legislation is still needed, however, the scheme has been launched from 1 January on an extra-statutory basis and claims can now be submitted.
Pictured: Former deputy Matt Fallaize campaigned for a mesothelioma compensation scheme for years before it was approved by the States back in the summer of 2019.
People can make an application if they: are 18 years or older; are ordinarily resident in Guernsey or Alderney; have been exposed to asbestos materials in Guernsey or Alderney; and have a diagnosis of diffuse mesothelioma which has been confirmed by a Specialist Consultant.
Payments will vary according to the age at which a person is diagnosed. Applications must be made within 12 months of being diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma. However, under transitional rules, if a person was diagnosed before 1 January 2020, retrospective claims can be accepted until 31 March 2021.
Where a person does not receive payment prior to their death, their partner or dependent family member can claim instead. Application forms can be obtained from the Pensions & Allowances team on 732506 or Pensionsallowances@gov.gg.
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