The Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Scotland) Bill Consultation process has begun, and has been backed by Clydeside Action on Asbestos. The Bill will allow the NHS to claim back millions for costs associated with caring for those suffering from asbestos related diseases such as Mesothelioma from insurance companies who have already settled civil claims with victims and their families.
It has been estimated by Clydeside Action that NHS Scotland spends over 20 million pounds diagnosing and treating people who have contracted industrial diseases after being exposed to asbestos. Each patient's initial diagnosis will be used to calculate costs. In Scots law, it is already possible for the NHS to claim back from insurers for treating people involved in accidents since the Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999, so it is predicated that the new regime will be able to operate effectively straight away.
Chair of Clydesdale Action on Asbestos, Phyllis Craig MBE, said: "Today is a very important milestone in our efforts to get this law on the statute books but also in the wider fight against the awful effects that asbestos disease causes to thousands of Scots. We are urging Civic Scotland and wider society to engage with our consultation to make clear their views.
"It is widely accepted that the number of people being diagnosed with asbestos conditions is increasing placing an ever greater burden on the NHS and palliative care services. The responsibility for meeting these costs rests with the employers who exposed their staff to asbestos. It is only just that the employers and their insurers have to meet the costs of care that result from their negligence", Mr Craig continued.
Furthermore, a leading medical specialist on asbestos conditions, thoracic Surgeon Mr Alan Kirk, estimated that the real cost to the NHS for diagnosing and managing a patient with a condition such as mesothelioma is around 60 thousand pounds. He said, "If these sums can be recovered as part of the civil compensation case, funds are going back into the NHS to help to care for the Scottish population. I would urge as many people as possible to take part in this consultation so we can send a clear message of support for the bill's progress".
The Consultation has also been supported by the Scottish Trades Union Congress, with their deputy leader stating: "It is time for the employers and the insurance industry to meet their obligations and reimburse the cost of the medical care as these costs would not exist if there had not been negligence on the part of the employer".
Stuart McMillan MP, who is taking forward the bill at Holyrood, is urging all organisations and concerned Scots to make their views clear during this consultation period.
For specialist personal injury claims advice in Scotland, including advice on mesothelioma and other asbestos related claims, contact us today: click here to make an online enquiry or call us on 0131 516 9180.