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Asbestos forces hospital theatre closures

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Operating theatres at Guy’s Hospital in south London were forced to close while asbestos was removed.

The asbestos material was found when a pipe burst, but repairs could not be made until the asbestos was removed.

As a result four of the 11 theatres had to be closed for three days, resulting in 15 non-emergency operations being postponed.

A spokesman for Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We closed four operating theatres at Guy’s on Saturday because of a burst pipe - not because there was any direct risk of asbestos exposure for either patients or staff.’

He added that the trust knew about the asbestos found and it was already recorded as part of its asbestos register.

‘Routine’ work was then carried out to remove the material following its exposure.

He said: ‘We routinely remove asbestos from our buildings and will continue to do so as part of our maintenance and improvement plan.’

But a spokesman for campaign group London Health Emergency has said that asbestos removal should not be on a ‘to do list’ and that people will be shocked to know hospitals ‘are riddled’ with the material.

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