The changes have been designed to speed up compensation claims for victims of the terminal condition, which can take hold decades after exposure to asbestos but usually causes death within 9 months of diagnosis.
- work with the National Cancer Registration Service and Public Health England to speed up the process of obtaining hospital medical records
- giving HM Revenue and Customs the ability to provide the work records of deceased victims to their dependants without permission from the courts
These changes will be brought into force at the earliest opportunity; they will benefit mesothelioma sufferers and their families by providing them with a streamlined process to access vital evidence necessary to resolve their claim.
The government has also announced that, following a legal ruling, it will not be making any changes to the law around no-win no-fee deals involving mesothelioma cases at this time. A further review of the likely effects of the no-win no-fee reforms on mesothelioma claims will be carried out in due course.
Justice Minister Lord Faulks said:
Mesothelioma is an awful disease which can destroy lives in a frighteningly short amount of time and we want to help sufferers and their families. We are committed to finding the best way to get claims settled fairly and quickly.
The latest work follows ongoing government efforts to help mesothelioma victims.
In April this year, a new £380 million package of support was introduced for workers suffering from mesothelioma – funded by the insurance industry.
The payment scheme for victims who are unable to trace the employer responsible for exposing them to asbestos, or their insurer, has already paid out £13 million to over 230 sufferers or their families and the Department for Work and Pensions are calling on those eligible to come forward.
Further details of the format and timing of the review of no-win no-fee reforms for mesothelioma claims will be announced in due course.