Health and Social Care Committee

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The proposed asbestos bill offers a "simple but effective regime" according to Health Minister Lesley Griffiths.

She was giving evidence to the Health and Social Services Committee on the Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill.

The UK government considered a similar proposal in 2003 according to Plaid Cymru member Elin Jones but they "decided not to include provisions for recovering costs associated with industrial diseases as part of that bill; has anything changed since then?"

The health department's deputy finance director Mark Osland explained that the decision in question "was based on the fact that the 2003 bill included every industrial disease.

"We are talking about a specific disease in this case."

Ms Griffiths concurred with Mr Osland, arguing that asbestos-related diseases were easy to identify: "mesothelioma is almost always caused by asbestos."

Members of Tenovus, namely the director of the cancer support group Dr Rachel Iredale and the advice services manager Miss Julia Yandle, also gave evidence to the committee, as well as Professor Ceri Phillips from Swansea University and Aneurin Bevan Health Board's assistant director of finance Glyn Jones.

"Counselling support and bereavement support are the sort of things this money should be used for," according to Dr Iredale.

The bill's proponent, Mick Antoniw, was also present to answer committee members' questions.

The committee members' main concern was that the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) hadn't agreed to undertake the work of recovering the costs were the bill to be passed.

"We have a bit of a feeling we're being asked to sign up to this without being proven that CRU would carry it through," said committee chair Mark Drakeford.

Mr Antoniw agreed that ensuring their co-operation would be helpful.

Labour member Mick Antoniw used to work as a lawyer on behalf of people who suffered from illnesses caused by asbestos exposure.

The proposed law would force businesses and insurance companies to pay for medical costs associated with diseases caused by asbestos.

Darllenwch hwn yn Gymraeg

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