Asbestos in Hospitals – The Real Problem?

Asbestos is a hazardous substance, and the effects that it can have on the human system are well known to be carcinogenic. With that in mind, asbestos has been removed or made safe from public places to protect people from it. However, it has recently been brought to the attention of the public that hospitals in the London area may not be as safe from this hazardous material as was initially thought. Asbestos in hospitals – The real problem.

There’s asbestos in hospitals in the London area?

Now, you would initially think that a hospital, which is a place where sick people are treated and cared for, would be nothing but the safest place possible, to ensure that both the patients in there do not become any worse than is necessary, or that the people who are caring for them are also protected from any risk or illness or injury. However, it has come to light that a very worrying 94% of hospitals in London contain asbestos within the building. Around 5,000 people die per year from asbestos related diseases, and seven of those in the last year have been reported to be doctors and nurses.

The official report from the government is that many of the structures which make up hospitals used by the NHS come from an era when the asbestos was much more widely used, although if left undisturbed, the substance is considered safe. However, leading experts have described the situation as being something which will eventually get out of hand, likening it to a ‘time bomb’.

Asbestos in hospitals

Is this a problem for people in hospitals?

The fact that there is so much asbestos in hospitals is a concern. Asbestos is a material which can be very dangerous for people to be in close contact with, if the material is not in a good condition. Asbestos materials in a poor condition can release asbestos fibre, which can become airborne. Once airborne they can be inhaled by the occupants. This can create problems later in life as the fibres can sit undetected within the body for many years. This exposure can lead to developing asbestos related diseases.

Overall, the fact that many hospitals have asbestos materials present within them is a very worrying discovery. The fact people enter hospitals in sometimes a vulnerable and ailing condition can only be compounded if they are potentially exposed to these hazardous materials. Additionally, to this, workers including doctors, nurses and hospital staff within these buildings are at a greater risk of exposure whilst working.


If you would like assistance in identifying and managing your asbestos risk with an asbestos survey call us on 0844 818 0895 for free and impartial advice.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Non licensed contractor

What you need to know about non-licensed asbestos contractors?

We recently had a query from one of our clients that we wanted to share with you in this blog. They are a contractor working in the commercial and retail sectors and occasionally they have to remove bolts from floors which may contain asbestos. Their query was about wearing the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) and RPE (respiratory protective equipment) to carry out the work safely. …

Read MoreWhat you need to know about non-licensed asbestos contractors?

Asbestos Emergencies

Asbestos emergencies – what to do?

In this blog we will discuss asbestos and emergency situations. We will look at what can go wrong, who can be affected and how to control and minimise risks from those situations. Who is at risk? To begin with we need to consider who is at risk of coming into contact with asbestos. It comes down to a list of people …

Read MoreAsbestos emergencies – what to do?

Asbestos Insulating Board

Asbestos insulating boards and the problems with their removal

Asbestos insulating boards are boards that have a high asbestos content usually containing Amosite (Brown) and can also contain Chrysotile (White) asbestos. When you look at an unpainted board you can see the asbestos fibres. The boards can be easily damaged and can easily release asbestos fibres. They tend to be off white or grey …

Read MoreAsbestos insulating boards and the problems with their removal

What does asbestos look like

What is asbestos?

This is a question we get asked a lot. But, for the purposes of this blog, we think it is worth exploring what asbestos isn’t. Firstly, there is a big misconception that asbestos is man-made, but that’s not the case. The shortest and easiest way to describe asbestos is that it is a mineral which …

Read MoreWhat is asbestos?

Asbestos Removal in hot conditions

Life-Changing issues surrounding asbestos removal in hot conditions

Working with asbestos brings many complications and there are many risks which need to be assessed and actions are taken to reduce those risks. However, asbestos removal in hot conditions can pose a significate risk to the health of the workers involved. Examples of asbestos removal in hot conditions Asbestos removal quite often happens in …

Read MoreLife-Changing issues surrounding asbestos removal in hot conditions

Asbestos awareness training (2)

Don’t forget your legal duty to provide asbestos awareness training

Asbestos awareness training enables workers who are likely to come into contact with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) to recognise and avoid disturbing them. In doing so, they protect their own health and safety, as well as that of their co-workers and people nearby. This type of training is particularly important for tradespeople and construction-related workers, including …

Read MoreDon’t forget your legal duty to provide asbestos awareness training

Asbestos Emergency

6 Actions To Take In An Asbestos Emergency

When you’re caught up in an asbestos emergency it can be difficult to think clearly and react appropriately to minimise your own exposure, and that of those around you. Asbestos is a carcinogenic material and has the potential to cause life-threatening disease, so what should you do in the event of an asbestos emergency? If …

Read More6 Actions To Take In An Asbestos Emergency

DSCF0564 e1431533668372

How dangerous is asbestos?

Asbestos continues to cause serious health concerns even though the substance was banned in the UK in 1999. Originally used for fireproofing and insulating, and typically encased in concrete and other building materials, it’s been the subject of controversy for decades. So exactly how dangerous is asbestos, and why is there such a risk associated …

Read MoreHow dangerous is asbestos?

Acorn Square Service 1

What are the 6 Main Types of Asbestos and how were they used?

Asbestos is a collection of naturally occurring minerals extensively used in construction, shipbuilding, and other industries from the 1950s until the 1980s. There are 6 main types of asbestos, which can be categorised into the Serpentine and Amphibole families. The fibres of Serpentine asbestos are softer and more flexible when compared with the Amphibole family, …

Read MoreWhat are the 6 Main Types of Asbestos and how were they used?

Asbestos Awareness Training Session image

What makes asbestos awareness training so crucial?

The considerable harm that the once widely used construction and insulation material known as asbestos can cause is thankfully now widely known. So with that in mind, what role does asbestos awareness training play, who could benefit from it, and how could they benefit from it? Asbestos awareness training is relevant and useful to a …

Read MoreWhat makes asbestos awareness training so crucial?