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DOCTORS are to be given further guidance on how to diagnose asbestos-related disease in the hope of improving care for sufferers.

Clydeside Action on Asbestos (CAA), which helps people with mesothelioma, has developed a new initiative designed to help GPs spot the signs of the disease quicker.

The charity argues the faster the person is diagnosed with asbestos-related disease, the better care they will receive.

Scotland has one of the highest levels of asbestos related disease of any country in the world with the numbers of those affected set to rise for years to come.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with CAA staff to discuss the new training book.

She said: "Clydeside Action on Asbestos has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of this illness and its consequences for individuals, and I am delighted that this new educational resource for GPs and their practice staff is now available.

"This is an important issue for the people of Scotland, and I entirely agree that we have to make sure that there is information and support available for not only those who are living with an asbestos related disease, but also for our GP’s.

"There are many issues for GP’s to consider in relation to a potential diagnosis of an asbestos related disease, and I believe there is a real demand for there to be specialist information available for GP’s to access.

"I am grateful to CAA for producing the GP module which will be beneficial to patients and GP’s alike."

Phyllis Craig, the senior welfare rights officer at CAA and one of the main driving forces in developing the training, said: "It’s wonderful to have the backing of the First Minister who has consistently shown that the awful legacy of asbestos related illness in Scotland is something she takes extremely seriously.

"It is important for our victims, that family GP’s are able to identify early symptoms of an asbestos illness, in order that a referral to a specialist can be made.

"This resource will allow doctors a better understanding of the emotional, legal and financial strains that victims and their families encounter. CAA are confident that this new learning resource will help GP’s to understand the difficulties of asbestos related conditions."

Dr David Cunningham, Assistant Director of GP Education at NHS Education for Scotland said “We have agreed to signpost to the learning resource on our website www.cpdconnect.nhs.scot and am sure that GPs will find it useful for the management of all aspects of diagnosis and treatment of patients affected by asbestos disease”

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