Health and Sport Committee calls for views on McMillan’s Member’s Bill

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has issued a Call for Views on the Liability for NHS Charges (Treatment of Industrial Disease) (Scotland) Bill, lodged by Stuart McMillan MSP.

The call for views will run until Wednesday 30 September 2020. You can take part in the consultation here.

Commenting, Stuart said:

“Following my Bill’s introduction in the Scottish Parliament on 9 March, it was referred to the Health and Sport Committee on 18 March. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic then hit and affected the work of Scottish Parliament
committees.

“Regardless, I am delighted that the committee has now issued a call for views, with the consultation period running until the end of September.

“This process will inform the committee’s decision on who to call for witnesses and to speak to the impact that my proposed Bill will have.

“Currently, where an injured person requires treatment at an NHS hospital in Scotland, including ambulance services, any person who compensates that injured person is liable to pay for associated NHS charges – such as hospital and ambulance costs. My Bill will therefore expand on the definition of injury to include industrial diseases.

“This will include people who are exposed to harmful substances – such as dust, fumes, and chemicals – or harmful activities, such as using vibrating tools or carrying out repetitive processes. Sometimes, harmful working environments can cause industrial injuries, such as working in a loud factory.

“Due to the nature of this piece of legislation however, my Bill is not retrospective – meaning it will only apply in cases where all or some of the exposure resulting in the diagnosis of an industrial disease has occurred after my Bill has come into force.

“Yet, the industrial diseases that people are diagnosed with in the coming decades may be very different to what we’re dealing with now, and may also require different treatment.

“I want to again thank Thompsons Solicitors and Action on Asbestos – Industrial Injury and Disease (formerly Clydeside Action on Asbestos) for bringing this issue to my attention and helping shape this Bill.

“I hope my Bill will help recover vital monies for the NHS in Scotland, while also forcing industries and employers to be more proactive in terms of health and safety in the workplace.”

Laura Blane, Partner at Thompsons Solicitors, said:

“Thompsons Solicitors have represented the victims of industrial disease in Scotland for over 30 years and we are proud to be involved with this piece of legislation which seeks to direct much-needed funds into our NHS at a time when the need for that service has never been more greatly appreciated.”

Phyllis Craig senior WRO & Director at Action on Asbestos, stated:

“Action on Asbestos (formerly Clydeside Action on Asbestos) are delighted that views are now being sought on the proposed bill. Over the years, the cost to the NHS to treat those who have sustained a disease, because of the negligence of former employers, is substantial. At a time when there is a real strain on NHS resources the Liability for NHS Charges (Treatment of Industrial Disease) (Scotland) Bill couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Last year Action on Asbestos seen over 750 newly diagnosed cases of asbestos-related diseases which further impacts on the limited resources of the NHS. It is definitely the time to recover the cost of such treatments from the insurance companies who were on risk at the time and put these much-needed funds back into the NHS.”

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