Health Authority payout for asbestos exposure in hospitals

A man has won his fight for compensation after developing asbestos-related cancer. 61-year-old Alan Wards received £175,000 from Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority in July 2009 after he was exposed to asbestos whilst working as a plumber in Wakefield hospitals.

Mr Ward now has terminal mesothelioma, cancer of the lung lining. “We just smashed off the asbestos and carried on working,” Mr Ward said of his time in Wakefield, where he worked for most of the 1960s (BBC News, 2009).

The Health Authority made an out-of-court settlement of £175,000 to Mr Ward, after he declared that he had received no warnings about the high risk of asbestos to his health.

Increasing pain

As Mr Ward’s health deteriorates, he hopes that the compensation will go toward paying the costs of his care. “The disease is progressing slowly, but I’m in a lot of pain and all they can do now is just keep increasing the painkillers,” said Mr Ward, speaking after his case was settled (BBC News, 2009).

NHS Yorkshire and Humber admitted liability on the basis of legal advice and Mr Ward’s statement. “Alan is one of a growing number of workers whose health has been fatally damaged just through going to work,” said general secretary of the union Unison, David Prentis (BBC News, 2009).

He added “Employers have to face up to their responsibilities to make sure they don’t put their workers at risk of injury or death,” (BBC News, 2009).

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