Osteoarthritis of the knee was added to the list of diseases covered by the industrial injuries scheme on 13 July 2009. The disease prescribed disease A6 (commonly known as ‘Beat Knee’) has been prescribed since 1958.
Any person who feels they may be eligible to claim for either disease should do so as soon as possible. Awards may be backdated up to three months. If a person makes a claim for osteoarthritis of the knee within three months of 13 July 2009, any award may be backdated to that date only, as no payment can be made for the period before the law changed.
The communication strategy for osteoarthritis of the knee has been deliberately targeted at the most effective means of reaching the mining community. My officials have met with senior representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers (NACODS), and the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) at their headquarters to explain what the changes mean for their members, and have contacted the miners' pension schemes to ensure all retired miners would be aware of the change. Press releases and posters containing contact details for advice on claiming have supported that strategy and its effectiveness has already been demonstrated by the numbers of claims already received. I am satisfied with our publicity arrangements, and do not plan to routinely make officials available to attend public meetings.
Prescribed Disease A6 (commonly known as Beat Knee) has been covered by the IIDB scheme since 1958. It is well known and we have no plans to further publicise this disease.
Atos Origin IT Services Ltd. (Atos Healthcare) has Medical Examination Centres (MEC) across the country. All DWP customers claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) for beat knee and osteoarthritis of the knee will be asked to attend the MEC nearest to their home. In addition the DWP do not require customers to travel further than 90 minutes, each way, by public transport. Where there is no MEC within 90 minutes of a customer's home address, Atos Healthcare can make alternative arrangements.
Discussions are under way between the DWP and Atos Healthcare to secure the best value for money solution to deliver this new requirement.
4,834 claims for osteoarthritis of the knee were received before the law came into force on 13 July 2009 to include this disease in the industrial injuries scheme.
Prescribed Disease A6, commonly known as 'Beat Knee', has been on the list of diseases covered by the scheme since 1958. There were 880 new claims for Prescribed Disease A6 received during the period October 2007 to September 2008. This is the latest full year validated figures held for that disease.
Clerical Count 100 per cent. data
Osteoarthritis of the knee was added to the industrial injuries disablement benefit scheme on 13 July 2009. We have made it clear in our publicity that customers do not need to involve solicitors and they should contact Jobcentre Plus industrial injury disablement benefit offices direct for advice about claiming.
Prescribed Disease A6 (commonly known as Beat Knee) has been covered by the industrial injury disablement benefit scheme since 1958. The Jobcentre Plus leaflet covering industrial injury disablement benefit advises individuals to contact their local Jobcentre Plus industrial injury disablement benefit regional centre if they require more information or want to make a claim.
We have not placed any paid-for advertisements in the last 12 months. We have, however, produced 500 posters to publicise the new entitlement to industrial injuries disablement benefit for miners with osteoarthritis of the knee. These have been distributed to MPs in their constituencies, and the major miners’ unions to distribute through their networks (including National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers [NACODS], Union of Democratic Mineworkers [UDM], and National Union of Mineworkers [NUM]).
In addition, we have sent articles to pension trustees of the above unions to include in their newsletters and other communications. We have also placed an article in September’s edition of Touchbase, the Department for Work and Pension’s newsletter for its advisers.
We have worked with national and local media outlets to explain the change and achieved free coverage in the Daily Mirror, on the BBC news website, and throughout the country, particularly in mining and former mining communities, including the Newcastle Journal, Northern Echo, Hartlepool Mail, Sunderland Echo, Wigan Observer, Warwickshire Telegraph, Coventry Telegraph, Nuneaton News, Staffordshire Newsletter and the Sheffield Star.
The Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Kitty Ussher), visited the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield, along with representatives from NUM and NACODS. The visit was covered by the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Star and Sheffield Telegraph newspapers, as well as BBC Look North and BBC Radio Leeds.
My hon. Friend wrote a letter advising potential applicants in South Wales to apply direct to Jobcentre Plus, after local solicitors were found to be targeting miners. The letter was published in the Bridgend & Porthcawl Gem, South Wales Echo, Western Mail and the Cynon Valley Leader.