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Thursday 1 March 2018

MSP backs calls to improve care for asbestos sufferers

John Fearn & Claire Baker, MSP
John Fearn & Claire Baker, MSP

An MSP has thrown her support behind a brand new information booklet from support charity Asbestos Action to help improve care for asbestos sufferers.

Scottish Labour’s Claire Baker joined the campaign one year after her own father died from mesothelioma – a terminal lung cancer contracted through asbestos exposure.

She was joined by John Fearn and Dianne Foster from Asbestos Action, a number of individuals affected by the harmful substance and Euan Love, Partner for Digby Brown’s Industrial Disease department as they unveiled the new booklet outside the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Baker, MSP for Mid Scotland Fife, was inspired to get behind the new support tool after the support she and her family received from Asbestos Action.

Her father Jim Brennan was exposed to asbestos in the 1970s as a sheet metal worker – he died on February 25 last year aged 70 just 12 months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Ms Baker said: “As a politician I always thought I had a keen awareness of issues related to asbestos.

“But it wasn’t until my father passed that I truly understood it and understood the anger of thousands of Scots because of how avoidable these deaths are.

“Although we got the support my dad needed it was sometimes a struggle and I’ve witnessed a real postcode lottery when it comes to people receiving the medical or pastoral care they need and deserve.

“We need to see improvements to bridge these gaps but also to secure the support needed and educate the next generation of health and social workers to make them aware of the impacts on individuals and families because conditions linked to asbestos will continue for decades to come.”

Asbestos-related diseases occur when people breathe in asbestos fibre which can lead to benign conditions like pleural plaques where the lining of the lungs or ribcage calcify or terminal cancers like mesothelioma which can prove fatal just weeks after diagnosis.

Thousands were affected because employers, particularly in the construction industry, failed to provide workers with safety gear or breathing apparatus.

And to this day asbestos-related conditions claim around 3,000 lives in the UK every year – more than are killed on the roads.

The new booklet advises people on the different kinds of conditions asbestos exposure can lead to as well as outlining effective measures for sufferers to put in place to assist with their day-to-day life.

It also tells families how to support their loved ones and where they can find additional support – even pointing individuals in the right direction for the best medical or financial help.

John Fearn, manager of the not-for-profit Asbestos Action, thanked Claire for her support of the new help booklet.

He said: “Ms Baker might be a politician but she’s also a daughter who lost her dad to a devastating illness.

“The tragic thing is her experience is just one of thousands seen over the decades but we don’t expect the number of cases to drop or even plateau in the near future.

“That’s why we need health boards, councils and other relevant bodies to put the right measures in place now so those affected get the right support deserve from day one.”

Euan Love from Digby Brown Solicitors and Partner of the firm’s Industrial Disease department said: “Ms Baker’s support, not just as a politician but as an affected individual, highlights the gravity and scale of asbestos-related diseases.

“This new resource is another example of how Asbestos Action continually seeks out new ways to help those in need – it will hopefully prove to be a useful aid to potentially thousands of sufferers and their families.”

For more information on asbestos-related diseases please click here for our support booklet or call us on 01382 225715.



Thursday 23 November 2017

Asbestos Action highlight dangers of asbestos to Scottish MSPs

Asbestos Action were delighted to be invited by Scottish MSP Jenna Marra to have an information stand at the Scottish parliament for the week beginning 6th November 2017.

John Fearn, manager at Asbestos Action, attended with the aim to raise awareness about the charity amongst Scottish MSPs, along with highlighting the risks asbestos still pose today and to underline the issues victims of asbestos related lung cancer face when applying for State Benefits.

There are planned changes to parts of the benefits system, which once in place, may make it harder for asbestos disease suffers to access the benefits they are entitled to.

Euan Love and Mark Nicholson, both specialist lawyers in Asbestos Disease Compensation at Digby Brown, also came along to help us highlight these issues to members of the Scottish Government.

John Fearn, Asbestos Action, Iain Gray MSP and Mark Nicholson, Digby Brown
John Fearn, Asbestos Action, Iain Gray MSP and Mark Nicholson, Digby Brown

John Fearn, manager at Asbestos Action said: “It was a great opportunity to meet the MSPs a one to one basis and explain the current challenges the charity faces in terms of sufferers benefits, asbestos still in public buildings and the difficulties faced by the legal profession in obtaining justice for victims.

“Many thanks also to Euan and Mark from Digby Brown for their support on the stand and being available to explain the intricacies of the legal system to the MSPs.”


Friday 28 July 2017

Asbestos Action calls for removal of asbestos

Asbestos Action held a successful event in Dundee on Friday 21 July at Discovery Point. The event’s main aim was to highlight the hidden risk posed by asbestos in homes and workplaces.

30% increase in asbestos victims seeking support

The day was also the charity’s 15th Annual General Meeting. Asbestos Action have seen a 30% increase in demand for its services as the number of people being diagnosed with asbestos related disease continues to rise in Scotland. A keynote speaker at the event was Beth Robinson of Gowrie Contracts Ltd, a Dundee based firm who specialises in asbestos abatement, while representatives from the Princes Youth Trust presented a video designed to help raise awareness of the risk posed by asbestos to future generations.

Speaking at the event, John Fearn, General Manager of Asbestos Action, said:

“It is important for us to actively campaign to help raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and its widespread presence in our houses, schools and workplaces.

“We need to see the safe, phased removal of asbestos from buildings where it is present, increased standards of health and safety, and better remedies for those affected by asbestos disease through no fault of their own.

“We will aim to hold them to account, to secure some justice for asbestos victims and their families.”


Friday 11 March 2016

Asbestos Action Conference 2016

Asbestos Action held a successful and well-attended conference in Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth at the end of February 2016.

The conference - ‘Asbestos in 2016: Today’s challenge’ - brought together individuals affected by asbestos related conditions and professionals working in the field. Among the speakers were Jephson Robb, designer of the International Asbestos Memorial in Clydebank, Dr Peter Reid, Dr Peter Reid, Consultant Respiratory Physician and Fraser Simpson, Head of Industrial Disease at Digby Brown Solicitors.

Roger Mullins MP (SNP – Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) gave a powerful keynote address, offering his support for Asbestos Action’s work and help in lobbying both the Scottish and UK governments on issues affecting asbestos victims and their families.

John Fearn speaking at Asbestos Action Conference 2016
John Fearn speaking at Asbestos Action Conference 2016

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