Asbestos sparks patients switch

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Ilkeston Community Hospital is coming to the rescue by finding beds for patients who are being moved from Heanor Memorial Hospital after the discovery of asbestos.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, which runs the Heanor site on Ilkeston Road, has confirmed that as part of its routine 
inspections a ‘small amount’ of brown asbestos was found in the boiler room.

The room is located in the basement of the site.

The trust’s director of operations William Jones said: “Experts have confirmed that these findings present no risk to the health and safety of our patients or visitors.

“The asbestos is safely contained within the boiler room area and is not airborne.

“The safety of our patients and staff is paramount and we have taken immediate steps to arrange the safe disposal of the asbestos by qualified specialists.”

The work is due to start on September 24, with patients moved on September 23.

The operation could take up to two weeks and will include a full survey of the building.

Mr Jones added: “For the comfort of our patients we have arranged for them to be temporarily cared for at Ilkeston Community Hospital, just two miles away.

“We expect them to be able to return to Heanor hospital on October 7.”

Brown asbestos, widely used for insulation, flooring and roofing in older buildings, can cause damage to lungs and lung cancers, such as mesothelioma.

It is now banned in the UK, but only becomes harmful when the fibres are airborne.

A spokesperson for the trust says patients are being moved because the asbestos disposal team will be working in the boiler room as electrical power and hot water will be disrupted.

There are currently 13 inpatients being cared for on the 16-bed ward.

However, the spokesperson said: “By the time of the move we anticipate there will be 10 patients to transfer to Ilkeston.

“The patients are predominantly elderly palliative care or rehabilitation patients.”

Physiotherapy services will remain on site, as this takes place in a separate part of the building.

The spokesperson said all patients have been informed about the move.