In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Asbestos sufferers denied justice by a dodgy dossier

Posted by smeddum on December 17, 2009

Asbestos sufferers denied justice by a dodgy dossier

Wednesday 16 December 2009

by Paddy McGuffin

Morning Star

A key government report recommending that compensation should not be reinstated for pleural plaques sufferers was written by a professor with no expertise in the field, campaigners have claimed.

Professor Robert Maynard’s report Medical Aspects of Pleural Plaques is one of two documents that have been repeatedly given as the reason that the Ministry of Justice is reluctant to reinstate compensation for sufferers of the illness, which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

In 2007 the Law Lords overturned the right to compensation for plaques sufferers, claiming that it was a symptomless condition.

Since then sufferers and trade unions have fought to have the ruling reversed.

A consultation on the issue concluded in October 2008.

More than a year later the government still has not revealed its findings – to the frustration and concern of campaigners.

And construction union UCATT, which is driving the campaign for justice, revealed that Prof Maynard is an expert in air pollution but has no similar expertise in the area of pleural plaques.

The union said that Prof Maynard had “admitted to experts in asbestos diseases that he had not met any patients with asbestos diseases.”

Lord Chancellor Jack Straw cited Prof Maynard’s study and the second document from the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council when announcing yet another delay in the publication of the consultation findings this summer.

Mr Straw claimed that “the government will give further consideration to the issue of compensation for people diagnosed with pleural plaques before publishing a final response after the recess.”

UCATT general secretary Alan Ritchie said: “It is outrageous that the person tasked with writing such an influential report was not an expert in this field and had never met a pleural plaques victim.

“This dossier is at best dubious,” said Mr Ritchie.

“I hope that it will no longer be cited as a reason why pleural plaques victims should not receive compensation for their injuries.”

Jane Howie of the Bradford Asbestos Victim Support Group told the Morning Star: “It happens time and time again that professors pretend to know what they are talking about and end up defending the indefensible.

“Prof Robert Maynard, an alleged air pollution expert, has done harm to the rights of pleural plaques victims,” said Ms Howie.

“Only a bumbling fool would not see that pleural plaques has a massive negative impact on health.”

Ms Howie added that questions needed to be asked as to why Prof Maynard had been selected to write such a crucial report.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: