About 90% of NHS trusts have said that asbestos is present in their hospital buildings, according to a BBC News report, in response to Freedom of Information requests sent to all 243 NHS trusts in Britain.
211 trusts responded to the BBC’s inquiry, of which 198 said they operated hospitals with the potentially lethal material inside. The use of asbestos in construction was banned in the 1980s and the material is considered safe if it is left undisturbed. However, building work can cause fibres to be released and inhaled, thereby putting human health at risk.
NHS Improvement said that experts are brought in to safely remove asbestos when construction work is undertaken in its hospitals, adding that strict regulations ensured the safe registration and containment of the material.
However, an MP has said there should be an audit to determine the extent of the problem of asbestos within NHS buildings.
Worries about the risks of disturbed or deteriorated asbestos
Chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Occupational Health and Safety, Jo Stevens MP, urged the government to undertake an audit to “ensure every trust knows the extent of asbestos on their premises and has a plan for dealing with it.”
She added: “If it’s there, it will at some point become dangerous if it’s disturbed or if it deteriorates, so I’d like to see long-term plans and long-term strategies in place for its removal from all buildings.
“I appreciate that you have to prioritise what you do and so that’s why there should be an audit of buildings so that the dangerous areas are dealt with first as a priority.”
The BBC also learned that the five-year period from January 2013 and December 2017 saw 352 claims made against health trusts by people who had developed asbestos-related diseases in NHS buildings.
The trusts said that approximately £6.8 million in payouts had been made in response to these claims. However, three legal firms told the BBC that they had won compensation claims amounting to more than £16.4 million during the same period.
Don’t overlook the importance of the most comprehensive asbestos management approach
With such services as asbestos awareness training, asbestos management surveys, asbestos air monitoring and – of course – asbestos removal all available from Trident Asbestos Solutions, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact us if you are concerned about the potential presence of such harmful material on your own premises.
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