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Do GPs know about help available for asbestos victims?

We were delighted to attend the Royal College of General Practitioners Annual Primary Care Conference & Exhibition in Glasgow with Asbestos Action.

The event was held on the 4th and 5th October and is described as the must attend event of the year for GPs and practice teams. For our part, we were there as a member of the Asbestos Victims Forum UK and the message to GPs was “Mind the Gap!”

The aim of the day was to raise awareness with GP’s of the importance of informing patients diagnosed with an asbestos related condition of the invaluable help and assistance which Forum support groups can offer, and the rights of victims and their families to claim benefits, or compensation from their past employer who exposed them to asbestos.

The warning to health professionals is that asbestos victims in Scotland may lose the right to pursue a compensation claim if they do not raise a claim within 3 years of diagnosis of any asbestos related condition.

That means if an asbestos victim goes on to develop another asbestos related disease which is life threatening such as Mesothelioma, they and their family will not be legally entitled to compensation.

This is commonly the case for people who are diagnosed with a less serious asbestos related condition such as pleural plaques (for which damages can be sought in Scotland unlike in England and Wales.)  Many health professionals still regard this condition as benign or clinically insignificant.

Hope Robertson at Clydebank Asbestos Group commented, “For us, this event was a great success. I was astonished at the number of GP’s we spoke to that did not know about the potential entitlement of asbestos victims or their families to receive benefits or seek civil damages. We truly hope our presence there has gone some way to filling that critical gap in knowledge.”.



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