16 October 2015
Asbestos at St Pancras Hospital
Staff at St Pancras Hospital in London are being sent for medical tests following the discovery of asbestos on the site.
Specialists discovered the asbestos in a network of tunnels beneath St Pancras Hospital, raising questions of whether asbestos checks were correctly carried out when the NHS trust took over ownership of the site in 2012. The specialists have reportedly found two of the most dangerous forms of asbestos: amosite and crocidolite.
The NHS trust have since claimed that the public have not been affected, despite a leak of emails warning “no access is allowed” and “we have found asbestos debris.” Manholes have been sealed and covered with danger signs since the discovery, with workers who use the tunnels wearing protective clothing as a “precautionary measure”.
Hospital staff have been sent for lung tests and x-rays. The Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust are currently taking legal advice on the proper certificates being obtained when they assumed ownership in 2012.
Sadly, this is not the first instance of potential exposure to asbestos at a UK hospital. Earlier, in August 2015, we wrote about an investigation into the discovery of asbestos at the Royal Shrewsbury hospital. In this case, a tribunal found former Project Manager, Les Small, was unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing on his suspicions of asbestos. It is worrying to think that when a person visits a hospital for treatment they could be exposed to asbestos. The results of which could potentially be considerably worse than the condition they had originally gone to hospital with. In light of this, whistleblowing and general vigilance are not only commendable but highly important in terms of the number of people who might be saved from exposure to asbestos.
Slater and Gordon industrial disease specialist, commented, “The problem of asbestos in underground service tunnels is a common one within the older NHS hospitals. Indeed I am acting for two victims of mesothelioma who worked together in the tunnels at an Epsom Hospital.
“Although the Hospital staff at St Pancras have been sent for X rays this will show nothing at present as there is a very long latency period for asbestos disease, usually at least 20 years.
“Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos at work should get full details of the exposure recorded. At Slater and Gordon we keep an asbestos register for those who have been exposed to asbestos in this way.”
Slater and Gordon Asbestos Lawyers can pursue compensation claims for people that have been exposed to asbestos in a public building.
If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos call the expert Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.
Have a question about asbestos? Feel free to write it in the comments below.
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