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Bill Passed To Allow Welsh NHS To Recover Asbestos Care Costs

Legislation Supported By Former Solicitor Approved In Country’s Assembly


New legislation has been passed by the Welsh Assembly which will allow the NHS to recover costs related to the treatment of asbestos-related disease sufferers from either businesses or insurers.

Sponsored by former solicitor and Labour AM Mick Antoniw, the Recovery of Medical Costs For Asbestos Diseases (Wales) bill was passed by ministers at the assembly last week with estimates that the change could raise around £1 million in funding for the country’s health service.

Mr Antoniw stated that his hope was that such funds could go towards providing better medical support to those who suffer from mesothelioma and other diseases linked to asbestos exposure, as well as lead to more research into potential treatments for such conditions.

He said: “There has only ever been one reason for bringing this bill forward, and it is to provide additional support for the hundreds and, over the years, thousands of Welsh men and women who have suffered from, or will suffer from, asbestos disease and whose lives have been so particularly blighted.”

The insurance industry had raised some concerns regarding the move, in particularly whether it was a move which could be enforced within the assembly’s powers.

Expert Opinion
Through our work we see first-hand the terrible impact asbestos exposure has on so many lives and have helped victims gain justice over such issues, as well as in some cases helping hospices to recover the costs of providing care.

"The passing of this bill in Wales is an important step and a move which has be to welcomed, as it not only ensures that the NHS gets vital financial support in its work to better treat asbestos-related diseases but also means businesses which failed to protect workers from the material will be held accountable for their failings.

"Ultimately, the bill most importantly will mean that funds will be able to provide a better standard of treatment to sufferers of mesothelioma and other related illnesses, with such support hopefully improving as more research is funded and undertaken into the area.

"Perhaps the most disappointment aspect of this development is simply that the legislation only applies to Wales. We would urge other authorities across the UK to see the important work which has been done and seriously consider taking a similar step in the very near future."
Alida Coates, Partner