COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Website maintenance The PDA website will be unavailable during a 1 hour window due to scheduled maintenance between 00:00am and 06:00am on the Tuesday 27th of February 2024

Home  »   Latest News   »   Hundreds of NHS buildings in Scotland still contain deadly asbestos

Hundreds of NHS buildings in Scotland still contain deadly asbestos

The STUC, TUC and MPs have warned hundreds of NHS buildings across Scotland still contain asbestos, including hospitals.   

Sat 28th January 2023 The PDA

  • New TUC research reveals many NHS premises still contain asbestos – including hospitals
  • Asbestos is still present in at least 695 buildings in Scotland – the majority of those surveyed
  • Data finds asbestos within 100% of premises duty owned by NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • TUC calls for new legislation requiring the removal of all asbestos from public buildings

The research was carried out by Labour Research Department (LRD) for the TUC, STUC and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health. The PDA have been a part of the STUC since 2021 and welcome this report.

Across Scotland, premises for which NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Dumfries and Galloway are the duty holders, data showed asbestos within all (100%) of buildings. The report has been labelled as “stark” from STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer.

Asbestos is still the biggest workplace killer according to the Health and Safety Executive, and Britain has the highest rates of mesothelioma cases in the world. But new research reveals that the majority of NHS buildings, including hospitals, health centres, blood donor clinics and GP surgeries, still contain asbestos more than 23 years since its use was banned in new buildings. 

The survey found at least 695 premises with asbestos – owned or used by NHS Boards in Scotland, during the first half of 2022. The TUC says the extent of asbestos presence in the research sample raises concern for the wellbeing of workers and members of the public using these premises. The TUC is calling for new legislation requiring removal of all asbestos from public buildings, rather than the current policy of “managing” it. 

Commenting on the research, STUC General Secretary, Roz Foyer said, This is a stark report which underlines the grave concerns we have about the extent of asbestos in public buildings in Scotland.

Death and illness from asbestos-related conditions is not just a legacy from the past, it is in the here and now for thousands of people in Scotland. It would be unforgivable if governments and politicians continued to sit on their hands whilst people could be needlessly put at risk.

We need an urgent plan for stepping up asbestos removal. Patients across Scotland cannot afford to wait any longer.”

TUC General Secretary, Paul Nowak said, “Asbestos exposure continues to cause thousands of deaths every year. Yet asbestos is still with us in workplaces and public buildings across the country. As a result, decades after the use of asbestos was banned, hundreds of thousands of workers, patients and members of the public are still put at risk of exposure every day.

The only way to protect today’s workers and future generations is through the safe removal of asbestos from all workplaces and public buildings. We need national government to work with NHS Trusts on a plan to remove it from every last building.” 

MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Asbestos, Ian Lavery said, “These shocking figures expose the extent of risk to dangerous carcinogenic exposure in the very places designed to nurture our health.

Thousands of people are dying every year of asbestos-related illness, with thousands more being diagnosed. If asbestos is in a building, it will at some point become dangerous if it’s disturbed, so we need plans in place for its removal from all public buildings.” 

PDA National Officer for Scotland, Paul Flynn added, “Pharmacists working for NHS Scotland will be concerned about this report, both for themselves and for the patients that also attend some of these buildings.

The PDA wholeheartedly support the call for a planned and safe removal of deadly materials from all public buildings.”

Learn more

Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists and for the first three months of being newly qualified.

JOIN THE PDA TODAY

Read about our key member benefits here.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)