Latest estimates forecast cases of mesothelioma are likely to peak at around 2,500 a year in the next ten years. It was therefore, landmark news in August, when a high court ruled that an employer responsible for exposing a former worker in the 1950s to asbestos, who later died from contracting the deadly cancer, mesothelioma, should pay the hospice a part of the mesothelioma compensation awarded for the care received.

Hospices are mostly dependent on key donations from charities and other support organisations. The court ruling is seen as a hopeful sign that those institutions caring for terminal asbestosis or mesothelioma sufferers will receive future help again with the costs of providing palliative care.

Currently, the hospice deals with five or six elderly male and female, working class mesothelioma patients every week, where only 35 per cent of care costs are met by the NHS. The hospice is located in proximity of engineering industries and assembly plants who used asbestos material in their manufacturing processes throughout the 1950s and 60s, and the area also records the UK’s highest incidence of female victims of mesothelioma.

Former workers at factories and industrial environments, such as power stations, shipyards or building sites, where asbestos was heavily used as insulation and a fire-retardant, were most at risk of catching asbestos-related disease. Unfortunately, as with the case of the hospice patient, asbestos awareness of the fatal health risk of exposure to the material was either, seriously neglected or wilfully withheld by many company employers.

The unusually lengthy time period of up to 40 or 50 years, which elapses before the first asbestosis symptoms appears, such as shortness of breath and chest pain, may be erroneously attributed to other causes such us smoking. Mesothelioma is incurable and at this late stage, death invariably occurs within 12 months.