General Practitioners are set to gain access to a new learning resource and reference on how to deal with the scourge of asbestos in a move that’s received the backing of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Scotland’s leading asbestos charity, Clydeside Action on Asbestos, working in partnership with other bodies and the Procurator Fiscal have come up with the new initiative based on their many years of experience in dealing with asbestos illness.

Scotland has one of the highest levels of asbestos related disease of any country in the world with the numbers of those affected set to rise for many years to come. Most people know that the conditions are a legacy of our industrial past but many don’t realise that the number of cases is growing every year in both men and women.

Clydeside Action on Asbestos believes that the earlier a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma the sooner that person can be referred to an oncologist for treatment. Support can also be provided earlier by CAA in order to help maximise a person income and to advise on the pursuit of civil compensation.

It is of major importance for GP’s to be provided with a diagnosis at the earliest opportunity in order to provide their patient with the best possible care. CAA believes that this learning resource will provide GP’s with all the information required.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with CAA staff to discuss the new training book:

Clydeside Action on Asbestos has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of this illness and its consequences for individuals, and I am delighted that this new educational resource for GPs and their practice staff is now available.

This is an important issue for the people of Scotland, and I entirely agree that we have to make sure that there is information and support available for not only those who are living with an asbestos related disease, but also for our GP’s.There are many issues for GP’s to consider in relation to a potential diagnosis of an asbestos related disease, and I believe there is a real demand for there to be specialist information available for GP’s to access.

I am grateful to CAA for producing the GP module which will be beneficial to patients and GP’s alike.


Picture: left to right: Phyllis Craig MBE; FM Nicola Sturgeon; Stuart McMillan MSP & Gordon Skivington (CAA).

Phyllis Craig MBE is the senior welfare rights officer at CAA and one of the main driving forces in developing the training:

It’s wonderful to have the backing of the First Minister who has consistently shown that the awful legacy of asbestos related illness in Scotland is something she takes extremely seriously. It is important for our victims, that family GP’s are able to identify early symptoms of an asbestos illness, in order that a referral to a specialist can be made. This resource will allow doctors a better understanding of the emotional, legal and financial strains that victims and their families encounter. CAA are confident that this new learning resource will help GP’s to understand the difficulties of asbestos related conditions.

Dr David Cunningham, Assistant Director of GP Education:

We have agreed to signpost to the learning resource on our website and I am sure that GPs will find it useful for the management of all aspects of diagnosis and treatment of patients affected by asbestos disease

Ralf Bruce, a member of Clydeside Action on Asbestos said:

I think that this resource is going to be beneficial, particularly as it has been put together with GP’s in mind. When I was diagnosed with pleural plaque and pleural thickening my main concern was understanding my condition, and understanding how it would affect me. I know from listening to others at the CAA support group that not all GP’s are able to explain this to their patients, and I don’t mean this as a criticism. This resource will be a fantastic source of reference for GP’s to support their patients.


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