Asbestos: More than half of Scotland's NHS buildings contain potentially deadly dust

More than half of buildings owned by the NHS in Scotland contain asbestos, according to research from the Conservatives.

Freedom of information requests by the party to Scottish health boards found 52% of their buildings contain the toxic substance.

In NHS Lothian, the figure is 92%.

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said 72 buildings contain asbestos, representing 60% of the premises it either owns or uses.

Alert: Asbestos is 'safe' unless it starts to break up or crumbles. The dust can cause cancers.

In its response to the Tories’ request, the health board said it has an asbestos management plan in place for each of the affected premises.

Conservative Health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “These shocking figures will undoubtedly raise questions about the state of our NHS buildings under the SNP.

“Buildings such as hospitals are supposed to be places where people feel safe, yet more than half of them contain this potentially cancer-causing substance.

“NHS staff and patients need confidence and peace of mind that they are not being put at risk.

“It’s essential, therefore, that SNP ministers provide health boards with the funds to ensure the safe removal of asbestos from their buildings.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We recognise the hazard of asbestos and the risks to health it poses, however asbestos is only dangerous when disturbed which is why it is important it remains in-situ while it is in ‘good’ condition, and that all Health and Safety Executive guidance is followed when planning and carrying out any removal.

“This is the situation for managing asbestos in NHS buildings across the UK.

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“For example, NHS England has found that over 90% of their buildings checked in the last three years have been found to have asbestos-containing material.”

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