28 buildings in the city are on the Asbestos Risk Register of the city. The buildings include children’s centers and theater blocks.
However, Sunderland Royal Hospital’s bosses say the substance present in the building does not pose any hazard to the patients as it is managed properly.
According to a report, asbestos is present in the main building of the Sunderland Royal Hospital, along with the Eye Infirmary, former neonatal unit, Genitourinary Medical Center, Niall Quinn Center, and many others in the city.
Since 2011 January, Sunderland City Hospitals has expended £153,667 on the removal and maintenance of asbestos material from its structures.
“Asbestos material was extensively used in construction as well as engineering until the late 1980s. Like almost all other buildings, asbestos was used in the properties of Sunderland City Hospitals as well. The use of asbestos was not restricted or regulated then,” said a spokesman representing the Trust.
“The trust has given top priority always to the safety and health of its employees, contractors, patients and the public. It identifies its legal responsibilities and duties under the 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act as well as the 2012 Asbestos Control Regulations. It has also developed ample procedures for managing the asbestos material present in its buildings,” the spokesman said.
“Many of our hospital buildings were constructed at a time when the use of asbestos was at peak in the construction industry,” he added. Usually these structures contained lot of amosite, typically known as “brown asbestos”, and sometimes as “gray asbestos”. It is a dangerous form of the material. However, if the property is managed properly, the material does not pose any harm, he said.
It was revealed last month that how 65 percent of the city schools contained asbestos, a potentially deadly cancer causing substance. Asbestos is a mineral mined from the nature. It is made up microscopic fibers. If it is disturbed or damaged, the fibers of asbestos could be emitted into the air and inhaled easily by anyone present in the area. If significant amounts of the fibers are breathed in, that person could develop diseases such as asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. The diseases usually take several decades to appear. However, most of the asbestos-related illnesses are fatal. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the protective lining of the chest and abdomen. It has no cure.