ASBESTOS related deaths in Eastbourne are well above the national average, according to new statistics.
The figures have been obtained by not-for-profit campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
The research shows from 2006 to the end of 2010, mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lung wall, was recorded as the underlying cause of 30 deaths in Eastbourne. It is the equivalent to four deaths in 100,000 people.
The average for England and Wales during the same period was 2.5.
APIL president David Bott said, “More people die of mesothelioma in Eastbourne per head of the population than in most other parts of the country.
“This is bad enough, but the number of men dying from this disease is expected to peak during the next five years and what many people don’t realise is that hundreds of sufferers across the UK cannot get the compensation they need to help them through the last days of their life.
“What is needed is for the Government to bring forward proposals for a fund of last resort which would act as a safety net for injured workers who are otherwise unable to pursue the justice they deserve.”
Many workers who have developed mesothelioma are sometimes unable to pursue a claim for damages because they can no longer trace the employer who exposed them to asbestos, or the employer’s insurance company.
This is because the onset of symptoms often comes decades after a worker has inhaled asbestos fibres, during which time employers go out of business and insurance documents can be lost or destroyed.
“The Government proposed to set up a fund of last resort shortly before the general election, but 18 months has now passed and nothing has been heard about it since,” added Mr Bott.
“In the meantime, sick and dying workers who are prevented from bringing valid cases are left effectively subsidising insurance companies.
“This unacceptable situation simply cannot go on. Something must be done before more dying victims of mesothelioma go uncompensated.”