Miners’ outrage as DWP refuses to recognise Dupuytren’s as industrial disease
A condition suffered by many ex-miners has been rejected by the Department of Work & Pensions as a prescribed industrial disease.
Dupuytren’s Contracture or Disease is a condition which has been known as ‘claw hand’ as it affects the connective tissues in the hand, with one or more fingers bending in towards the palm. It is quite a common condition and affects up to 20% of men above 60, and 20% of women who are over 80 years old. Famous sufferers are Margaret Thatcher and actor Bill Nighy. The causes of the condition are relatively unknown but recent studies have shown that there may be a link between Dupuytren’s Contracture and manual work with the use of vibratory tools.
As a result of these studies and the appearance of symptoms found in former pitmen, the Miners Union leaders have campaigned for the disease to be recognised as an industrial disease. In the past, the Miners Union have successfully campaigned for diseases such as VWF (Vibration White Finger), CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) and Osteoarthritis of the knees to become recognised as industrial diseases.
Four years ago, the Industrial Injuries Advisory Counsel submitted a report to the department of Work and Pensions which if endorsed would have meant that hundreds of former miners affected by the condition would qualify for IIDB (Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit).
However, last month the Miner’s Association secretary was notified by the Department for Work and Pensions that “Following publication of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) recommendation to add Dupuytren’s contracture to the list of prescribed diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is payable, the Department for Work and Pensions considered the proposal…The recommendation has been carefully considered but it has been decided not to add Dupuytren’s contracture to the list of prescribed diseases.”
Reacting to the blow to thousands of miners who could have claimed compensation, Alan Cummings, Miner’s Association secretary, said he is furious that after four years and a clear recommendation from the IIAC that hundreds of former miners will not qualify for Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit.
He said “This is an insult to injury to all those who have been injured in industry and we will not stop campaigning for justice on this issue.”