Families of ex-coal miners could be missing out due to Covid-19

Families of former coal miners in places like Doncaster could be missing out on entitled compensation due to Covid-19 and the lack of resulting post-mortems.

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 7:00 am

Doncaster Labour councillor Tosh McDonald said people who worked in the pits would not get a post-mortem if they had died of Covid-19 and argued underlying health conditions not previously diagnosed from their former employment would be missed.

Coun McDonald has urged elected mayor Ros Jones to write to senior figures in Government to back the call.

The motion, seconded by Labour Balby South Coun John Healy, also calls on Government to do more to support healthcare and wider regeneration in former coalfield areas like Doncaster.

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Tosh McDonald. Picture Scott Merrylees

Data shows former coalfield areas suffer disproportionately from poor health and lower life expectancy.

Due to the new Office for National Statistics data showing Doncaster has high rates of Covid-19, the councillors said communities in the borough are ‘some of the hardest hit’ and it was ‘critical’ these issues are looked at in more detail.

The campaign, backed by the National Union of Mineworkers, has the support of a number of councils.

“People with underlying health conditions who worked in industrial industries like the coal pits, are dying of Covid-19 and are not having post-mortems done,” Coun McDonald said.

“Many of these industrial diseases only an autopsy will confirm them. So what we would like to see is people with underlying health conditions from long periods of times working in industrial settings

“Not just mine workers but other industries including those who work in asbestos removal.

“We feel coroners are being very quick, if Covid-19 is there then it’s a open and shut case for death certificates. It doesn’t enable diagnosis in post-death for industrial related illnesses brought on from their previous work environment.

“This means that families could be losing out on compensation they’re entitled to.

“The motion also touches on the need for investment in coalfield communities – it’s much needed for places like Doncaster.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.