Details about the document that outlines advice for the NHS on how to organise their services to improve quality of patient care for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.
The foreword for the Mesothelioma Framework 2008, by the National Cancer Director, Professor Mike Richards, reiterates the devastating fact that approximately 1800 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in England. Most of these patients will die within a year of being diagnosed with Mesothelioma because it is difficult to diagnose. More people die of mesothelioma than they do of malignant melanoma, endometrial carcinoma, or even cervical cancer and the incidences are rising. Deaths from asbestos related mesthelioma lung disease are expected to peak between 2008 and 2020, with an estimated 30,000 mortalities overall.
The Mesothelioma Framework was developed to advise and guide the NHS on how to prepare to give quality care to patients, and the importance of making early diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases, including pleural plaques. It was put together by the Department of Health, and the combined advice of the Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Advisory Groups and the British Thoracic Society.
The nature of the asbestos related disease, mesothelioma, means that the symptoms aren’t realised by the sufferers quickly, and no cure is available. Treatment is limited, and the NHS and its related Primary Care Trusts, Strategic Health Authorities and NHS Trusts, can use the guidelines made in the framework to prepare, and provide quality care, for the patients they have. The Mesothelioma Framework is not mandatory, but was created to give advice on how to configure services, raise awareness, clinical management, and to underpin programmes of information, research and audits. It’s recommended that the Framework is used in conjunction with the 2001 British Thoracic Society Statement on Malignant Mesothelioma. Raising awareness of the symptoms, and the importance of understanding the background of the patient, is one of the main focuses of the Framework. For example, to make the diagnosis quicker, and therefore have an earlier, and potentially better, chance to treat the illness, a history of the patients working life is vital. Because Mesothelioma is a mainly industrial disease, discovering what a patients’ employment history, is a major factor to a correct diagnosis.
The Mesothelioma Framework 2008 is a major step towards educating and raising awareness of the industrial lung diseases caused by inhaling asbestos dust. If you think you have worked with asbestos, or know someone who has, call Simpson Millar on 0800 634 1626 to find out if you’re entitled to claim compensation.