Petition Provide compensation for Asbestos victims

Asbestos kills around three people in the island each year from mesothelioma, an incurable deadly disease. Many governments have long accepted that these people have been failed by a previous lack of safety measures and have provided compensation. See https://www.gov.uk/diffuse-mesothelioma-payment

More details

Jersey has no compensation scheme and access to justice is largely denied as many people exposed to asbestos cannot sue an employer who no longer exists. Others may have been exposed in the home or school.
Mesothelioma has no viable treatment and no cure. Life expectancy is 12- 18 months.
Brian is a local man who is dying from the disease. If you need convincing that this is worth your signature, take a moment to look at his interview https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-jersey-44630201

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Ministers responded

This response was given on 7 September 2018

Employers must hold liability insurance. Sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma may be able to claim, dependent on individual circumstances. The Social Security review will consider the need for a scheme.

Read the response in full

Ministers acknowledge the devastating effect that diffuse mesothelioma has on sufferers and their families and the potential need for a compensation scheme in Jersey, which supports those with asbestos-related illnesses to get redress if their employer no longer exists.

Prior to the creation of this petition, at the Council of Ministers meeting in July 2018, the Social Security Minister confirmed her existing commitment to including a review of the options for potential redress schemes for asbestos-related diseases within the larger social security review that is taking place. This issue was considered at the Council of Ministers meeting on 5 September 2018.

Jersey employment legislation does contain considerable protection for local employees, including the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Jersey) Law 1973 which requires all employers to take out and maintain employers’ liability insurance, against liability for bodily injury or disease sustained by their employees during the course of their employment. The Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 is the overarching principal law that provides for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work (including controlling the risks of asbestos exposures).

The regulation and enforcement of all working activities which (may) carry risk of exposure to asbestos has developed greatly over the years, with the prevention of exposure to such risks being the highest priority for the Health and Safety Inspectorate.

There are three schemes in the UK offering compensation to those with asbestos-related illnesses.

Details of the UK schemes can be found here:

• Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 – The ‘Workers’ Compensation (1979) scheme:’ https://www.gov.uk/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit/how-to-claim

• Diffuse mesothelioma payment – the ‘2008 scheme:’ https://www.gov.uk/diffuse-mesothelioma-payment

• Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) – The ‘2014 DMPS scheme:’ https://www.gov.uk/diffuse-mesothelioma-payment

Whilst currently no similar schemes exist in Jersey, sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma (or their relatives) who contracted the disease as a result of exposure to asbestos at work may be able to claim against their employer, dependent on the individual circumstances of each case. If any individual, or a member of their family, has an asbestos-related illness they should seek independent legal advice or, alternatively, advice can be sought from Citizens Advice. Citizens Advice Jersey offer free and impartial information and advice on personal injury, and this includes general advice on claims relating to asbestos.

Separately, the Social Security Department provides a range of benefits to support people with mesothelioma arising from asbestos fibre inhalation. Please see www.gov.je/benefits for more information.

Minister for Social Security

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Other parliamentary business

Mesothelioma: written question from Deputy Alves to the Minister for Health & Social Services

The Question below was tabled last week by Deputy Alves and answered today by the Minister for Health and Social Services (Deputy Renouf). Apologies that the table isn't formatted - you can read the answer here https://statesassembly.gov.je/assemblyquestions/2018/(143)%20approved%20and%20answered%20dep%20alves%20to%20hss%20re%20diagnoses%20of%20mesothelioma.pdf - and the formatting should work there.

Question

Will the Minister state –

(a) how many diagnoses of mesothelioma there have been in the last 10 years; and

(b) what the average life expectancy is of those who have been diagnosed in Jersey?

Answer

(a) The States of Jersey does not maintain a central disease register for non-notifiable diseases and is therefore unable to provide the total number of cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in Jersey in the last 10 years.

We are able to provide the number of patients who have been admitted as an inpatient (for any reason, related or not) who had a diagnosis of mesothelioma coded.

Health and Community Services code acute inpatient diagnoses. The table below shows the total number of unique patients (by year) with mesothelioma who had an inpatient episode.

It is important to note that these episodes may not have been directly related to mesothelioma. For example, if a patient with mesothelioma was admitted for an orthopaedic trauma, they would be counted in the table below.

There were a total of 32 unique patients with a diagnosis of mesothelioma who had an inpatient episode within the timeframe below. The same patients could appear in different years.

                                 2011   2012    2013 2014   2015    2016    2017
                              (from June)

Number of unique patients 6 6 8 10 6 9 11

Data are available from June 2011 which was when the hospital patient administration system (TrakCare) was implemented. Data are reported up to the end of 2017 as there are respiratory episodes still to be coded from 2018.

(b) There are no local statistics available for mesothelioma survival or life expectancy because there are not enough cases locally to calculate survival data accurately. However, it is unlikely that the survival/ life expectancy of Jersey patients will be greatly different from patients elsewhere. Information from both the UK and America shows that:

• the average mesothelioma life expectancy ranges from 12 to 21 months from the date of diagnosis
• survival rates are higher in those diagnosed under 50 years old and lowest in those aged 75 years and over when diagnosed
• women have better survival rates than men
• survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma (tumour originating in the abdominal lining) patients is more than five times higher than the rate for pleural (tumour originating in the lung lining) patients.

Survival rates are affected by the age and sex of the patient, the type of mesothelioma and the stage at diagnosis and can change as both new and standard mesothelioma treatments are developed.

Useful references:

Mesothelioma life expectancy – Mesothelioma Group
https://www.mesotheliomagroup.com/mesothelioma/prognosis/life-expectancy/

Mesothelioma statistics – Cancer Research UK
https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/mesothelioma

Changing Pattern in Malignant Mesothelioma Survival Study – National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350634/

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