Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale has pledged to take a plan to tackle Mesothelioma to Parliament after hosting a roundtable discussion with campaigners and medical experts in Holyrood today.
The event was also attended by representatives from Mesothelioma UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, the British Lung Foundation, the Health and Safety Executive, the STUC and support groups from across Scotland.
The round table discussed a variety of issues from raising awareness and prevention of the disease, improving and expanding research funding available, and how to provide access to expert treatment, care and support across Scotland.
Speaking after the meeting, Kezia Dugdale said:
“This was a landmark day in tackling Mesothelioma in Scotland as we brought together campaigners and experts from all across Scotland and the UK to develop a plan so this cancerous disease gets the resource and attention it needs.
“Mesothelioma, with its link to asbestos, is a disease that leaves certain demographics more susceptible - such as those in many communities employed in the construction and manufacturing industry during the 1970s and 1980s.
“In the coming weeks I will continue to develop this plan alongside all those who attended the discussion and anyone else who wants to help us fight Mesothelioma. I will take our plan direct to the Scottish Parliament and ask the Scottish Government and other political parties to work with us to ensure cancer stops being a deprivation disease in Scotland.”
Local campaigner Julie Roberts said:
“When I lost my dad and uncle within six weeks of each other to Mesothelioma, I was determined to do whatever I could to raise awareness of the disease.
“It’s a disease which is going to increase in the coming years as generations of working class people who worked with asbestos grow older.
“I am incredibly grateful to Kezia Dugdale for supporting me and help drive the campaign forward. I would never have thought we would have been able to get so many campaigners and experts together to develop our plans, and to do it in the Scottish Parliament, where we will hopefully one day make real change on this issue, was extra special.”
Liz Darlison, Director of Services, Mesothelioma UK said:
“Today’s discussion was a great step in the fight to tackle Mesothelioma in Scotland.
“Mesothelioma UK applauds Julie Roberts for sharing her story and for her determination to make changes. The Charity would like to thank Kezia Dugdale for inviting us to be part of the discussion and we look forward to working alongside everyone in attendance today as we look to raise awareness, develop further research and improve care and support for anyone battling Mesothelioma.”