HC Deb 31 October 2000 vol 355 cc364-5W
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims for compensation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have been(a) received and (b) settled in each of the last five years. [134437]

Mrs. Liddell

The Department has received a total of 122,952 claims for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, of which 5,161 have been settled in full and final settlement. In total the Department has made payments totalling £78 million, including 22,292 interim settlement payments.

These are broken down as follows:

Received Settled full and final Interim
Pre 1996 870 1
1996 5,548 4
1997 3,259
1998 54,145 7 10,519
1999 29,424 799 5,485
2000 29,706 2,509 6,283

Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when the claim of William Farrington (deceased) for compensation for respiratory disease will be dealt with by IRISC Claims Management; [134442]

(2) what action he has taken to deal with the claim of Mr. William Farrington (deceased) for compensation for respiratory disease [134443]

Mrs. Liddell

On 24 February 2000, in line with the prioritisation procedure agreed with the solicitors representing the claimants, IRISC (the Department's claims handling agents) sent Maddocks Clarke, Mrs. Farrington's solicitor, the necessary Claims Questionnaire, Financial/Other Losses Questionnaire and Mandates which authorise access to the late Mr. Farrington's medical records.

Maddocks Clarke returned the completed forms to IRISC on 22 May. Unfortunately there was conflicting information entered on the Claims Questionnaire and the Financial/Other Losses Questionnaire and IRISC contacted Maddocks Clarke to clarify this. Clarification was received on 23 June and the forms were forwarded to Healthcall, provider of the medical assessments.

Healthcall had anticipated that they would complete the scanning of all the required medical records by the middle of September. However, due to staff sickness and the unavailability of Health Authority staff this was delayed and the remaining records will now be scanned on 21 November.

All the documentation will then be passed to a respiratory consultant who will assess the disability for which the Department is liable. IRISC will write to Mrs. Farrington's solicitor with an offer of compensation within two weeks of receiving the correctly completed medical report form.

Prior to his death Mr. Farrington received an interim payment of £2,000, and subsequently Mrs. Farrington has received her bereavement award.

Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the average time take by IRISC Claims Management to deal with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims in the last 12 months. [134438]

Mrs. Liddell

The processing of COPD claims requires the involvement of many bodies—the Department, its contractors, the Compensation Recovery Unit of the Department of Social Security and the claimants' solicitors. Where IRISC, the Department's claims handling agents, are involved there are time scales at various stages of the process, set out in the Handling Agreement signed by the Department and the solicitors representing the claimants.

Some of the main deadlines include agreeing or contending an Employment History within 56 days of receipt of a completed Claims Questionnaire and making an offer on general damages within 28 days of receipt of a medical assessment process—MAP—report. It should be noted that there are not formal time scales for other parties, including solicitors.

For those claimants who have received a full and final settlement since 1 November 1999 IRISC advise that the targets set out in the Handling Agreement have been met in all cases.

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