Guernsey asbestos cancer compensation scheme to launch

Image caption,
Ian Goodwin was exposed to asbestos while working on the island in the 70s and 80s

A compensation scheme for patients diagnosed with a rare lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos will give them a "better choice of life", a sufferer has said.

Ian Goodwin, from Guernsey, contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at two former work places.

The States agreed to provide £100,000 for the scheme from 2021, although the exact details are yet to be revealed.

Mr Goodwin has been campaigning for the scheme for two and a half years.

However, does not expect to directly benefit as doctors have told him he has about one year to live.

"It doesn't matter so much for me, I've been fighting this battle for other people," he said.

"They'll be able to buy the things they need, buy groceries, or even a small holiday."

The scheme will bring Guernsey in line with Jersey, after a compensation process was introduced there in October.

What is mesothelioma?

The rare form of lung cancer is often caused by exposure to asbestos - a group of microscopic mineral fibres banned from use in construction in 1999.

Mesothelioma principally affects the lining of the lungs after the fibres are inhaled and become trapped, damaging them over time.

The disease can also can also affect the stomach lining, heart or testicles.

It can take 20 years after exposure for the cancer to develop.

Source: NHS

So far 12 people on the island have been diagnosed with the incurable disease, though Mr Goodwin believes more are "yet to come".

The effort to get the funding agreed by the States was spearheaded by Vale deputy Matt Fallaize, who originally proposed the scheme be introduced in July 2020.

Image caption,
Deputy for the Vale Matt Fallaize said the scheme would allow sufferers to provide for their families

However, concerns over the lack of detail in the proposals meant this timetable was rejected on 8 November, with January 2021 eventually agreed.

The full proposal is expected to be put before the States in early 2020.

Mr Fallaize said Guernsey had an "obligation" to introduce the scheme, as industry had been permitted to use asbestos for years after the risks were becoming clear.

He said the scheme was "about accepting that historically workplace regulations were inadequate for far too long".

He added it would allow suffers to provide for their families.

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