1,000 signatures reached
To: The House of Commons
Reinstate Compensation for Pleural Plaques in England and Wales
We would like the House of Commons to discuss reinstating compensation for sufferers of pleural plaques, a disease caused by inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres.
Why is this important?
My name is Eddie Gilbertson and I was diagnosed with pleural plaques in 1999. I know what it's like to have an asbestos-related condition and how important it is to receive piece of mind when you are told you have a toxic material in your body.
I co-ordinate and run the South Wales Asbestos Support Group (SWASG - http://www.swasg.wales/about), and with their backing and support I am bringing you the information and background surrounding this petition.
The purpose of this petition is to bring attention to a House of Lords decision that residents of both England and Wales should not be entitled to compensation when diagnosed with pleural plaques, while their counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland are allowed to do so.
Since the 1980s, the presence of pleural plaques was treated by the courts as giving rise to a potential provisional damages claim. An individual would be able to instruct solicitors to investigate liability in the knowledge they would achieve peace of mind - they could also be entitled to compensation should they develop a more serious asbestos-related condition in the future.
In 2007, the House of Lords ruled that people with the condition would no longer qualify for compensation after insurance companies challenged workers’ rights to claim.
Compensation for pleural plaques was reinstated in Scotland in 2009 and again in Northern Ireland in 2011 through legislation passed by their devolved parliaments with the knowledge that the combination of the physical change to the lung tissue when combined with the inevitable anxiety as to the individual’s future and the risk of development of more serious conditions, ought to be actionable.
This leaves those who were exposed to asbestos dust and fibres throughout England and Wales unable to claim compensation if they are diagnosed with pleural plaques.
Caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres, pleural plaques are a condition affecting the membrane surrounding your lungs and lining the inside of your ribcage. After being exposed to asbestos, it is very common for areas of the membrane to become thickened and fibrous, and to accumulate a chalky material.
Despite there being no symptoms associated with pleural plaques, the fact that they are there signals the presence of asbestos fibres in the lungs which may independently cause life-threatening or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. To put it shortly, pleural plaques are an indicator of potentially serious health problems in the future. Diagnosis means that people with previous asbestos exposure can feel great anxiety about what their future holds, and can even alter someones state of mind.
I know several individuals who have since been diagnosed with pleural plaques, as well as the families and friends of others and it can be very harrowing to see such fine gentlemen and ladies know that one day they could develop a life threatening condition and get no support, all while their mental well-being deteriorates.
When you are told you have asbestos fibres in your lungs - no matter how serious the related condition - it's frightening and isolating. What does is mean for your health and future, and the future of your family? It is for these reasons that I wanted to set up the SWASG, and I am now bringing forward this petition.