Coroners: Mesothelioma

Justice written question – answered on 21st April 2008.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received on the procedures used in coroners' inquests following a death from mesothelioma in the last 12 months

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

In February 2007, my Department received the report of the British Lung Foundation on its research in to the investigation of mesothelioma deaths. My officials have met with representatives of the British Lung Foundation to discuss their report, and facilitated meetings between the Foundation and the Coroners Society. Following these meetings, best practice guidance for coroners and clinicians on how deaths from mesothelioma should be dealt with has been published on the Coroners Society website. The needs of the bereaved are integral to our proposals in regard to longer term reform of the coroners' service. The appointment of a chief coroner and the introduction of national standards of service, which will be enabled by the Coroners Bill, will also address concerns about inconsistencies of practice between coroner areas. We will bring forward legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows, and continue to consult with the British Lung Foundation about those parts of the Bill which effect the investigation of mesothelioma deaths. In February 2008, I attended a parliamentary reception hosted by the British Lung Foundation and I was happy to give a commitment to work with them as the Government develops its policy further in these areas.

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