Ashfield MP launches campaign to secure CT scans for ex-miners

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero with the National Union of Mineworkers' Nottinghamshire chairman Alan Spencer
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero with the National Union of Mineworkers' Nottinghamshire chairman Alan Spencer

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt campaigning to secure CT scans for ex-miners in the area.

The scans will hasten the diagnosis in cases of black lung disease developed when ex-miners were working in the coal pits.

Ms De Piero recently met with Alan Spencer, general secretary of Nottinghamshire’s National Union of Mineworkers branch, who raised concerns about the current screening procedures for the illness known as pneumoconiosis.

She said: “It is important that former mineworkers are able to request a CT scan to help diagnose

any chest problems that may be missed by a conventional x-ray, so that they can get the treatment

they need as early as possible.

“The NUM has growing evidence that patients sent for x-rays end up having a CT scan anyway when

the x-rays prove inconclusive, so it would make economic sense and save valuable time for a CT scan

to be offered in the first instance.”

While working in the pits, miners were regularly x-rayed to check for dust retention, however there is no such screening programme at present and there is also doubts over the accuracy of regulr x-rays.

Compensation is available to workers who develop dust-related conditions such as pneumoconiosis - where the disease was the result of dust exposure during employment - however they are unable to claim damages because their former employers have ceased business.

In 2016/17, 2910 sufferers received compensation totalling £38.61m under the Pneumoconiosis (Worker’s Compensation) Act 1979.

320 dependents also received compensation payments totalling £3.3m.