According to legal experts the ruling by Britain's highest court means that employers' insurers will have to pay compensation claims. Relatives of the victims want to make claims on policies from the late 1940s to the late 1990s. The legal fight began more than five years ago.
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Almost a fifth of hospital patients were also unable to reach their call button, a report warned.
At least 2,400 cancer sufferers die needlessly every year because their GP does not refer them to a specialist quickly enough.
It comes after shadow chancellor John McDonnell made a surprise U-turn on the Tory budget vote which is due later today.