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Armed Forces: Mesothelioma

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL4063, tabled on 30 November 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to assist members of the armed forces who are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the future; and what assessment they have made of whether those individuals should receive financial support at least equivalent to that of civilians diagnosed with the disease.

Answered on

8 December 2015

In the UK it is the National Health Service (NHS) that is responsible for the provision of healthcare to veterans including those diagnosed with mesothelioma. Veterans in England, Scotland and Wales are entitled to receive priority access to NHS secondary healthcare for conditions suspected to be due to their service in the UK Armed Forces, subject to the clinical needs of all patients.

Veterans are able to access support from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through Veterans UK, part of MOD’s Defence Business Services, which provides a package of welfare support for veterans through a free helpline, website and national Veterans Welfare Service. Veterans UK also administer compensation payments for ill health or injury suffered while serving in the Armed Forces through the War Pensions Scheme (WPS) and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

The Department commissioned advice from the Independent Medical Expert Group to look at mesothelioma and the awards paid through the WPS. Following this, officials have considered what options there might be to offer any flexibility for those who will claim in the future under the WPS. This is a complex matter which has required detailed consideration and involved close consultation with our colleagues across Whitehall.

The Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans (Mark Lancaster) announced during the Adjournment Debate, in the House of Commons on mesothelioma compensation on 19 November 2015 (Official Report, columns 929-936) that he intends to make an announcement regarding the matter of lump sum payments as soon as possible. We will update ex-Service organisations at the forthcoming Central Advisory Committee on Compensation in December.