Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View, met with nurses from national charity, Mesothelioma UK on Friday 7 February 2020 at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth to find out more about a major campaign aimed at raising awareness of, and providing treatment for mesothelioma in the armed forces community.
Mesothelioma UK is delivering a national ‘Supporting our Armed Forces’ project to establish a specialist information, advice and support service for armed forces veterans and serving personnel affected by mesothelioma.
Johnny Mercer MP served in the British Army for 10 years prior to becoming an MP and in 2019, was made a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in both the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Cabinet Office where he jointly oversees a new Office of Veterans’ Affairs.
Johnny Mercer MP met with Christine Jones, Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Anne Moylan, Mesothelioma UK Lead Nurse for the Armed Forces project, to find out about the impact of mesothelioma in the Plymouth area and to learn more about what the charity’s Supporting Our Armed Forces project is doing to support veterans and military personnel with the disease.
Development of the Supporting our Armed Forces service is supported by Government funding from fines levied on the banking industry for manipulating the LIBOR rate (the London inter-bank lending rate). As part of the service, an Armed Forced Benefits Advisor has been employed to help clients to navigate the complex system of claiming compensation and accessing benefits – a system that is different to that for civilians. A dedicated Armed Forces Clinical Nurse Specialist has also been appointed.
A comprehensive research programme is nearing completion that will provide a broad insight into the impact of mesothelioma amongst our Armed Forces and veterans. Mesothelioma UK is also collaborating with an increasing number of Armed Forces organisations to pool its resources and reach those veterans and armed forces personnel who need support.
Johnny Mercer MP, commented: “It was great to see Chris and the team today; we are working on a flexible compensation package that suits the personal circumstances of veterans with mesothelioma caused by their military service and I look forward to seeing them again in London in due course.”
Anne Moylan from Mesothelioma UK added: “Mesothelioma UK is delighted to meet with Johnny Mercer MP to raise awareness of our Supporting Our Armed Forces project. The service is hugely important, particularly in the areas of Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, given the high incidence of mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos that we’ve seen from patients in the local area, with people employed at the dockyards or based here during navy service.
“We hope that meeting Johnny will help to raise the profile of mesothelioma, the dangers of asbestos exposure and the availability of support for those in the Armed Forces and wider communities affected by it.”