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Hospital closures have been a common feature over the last 10-15 years and there will be more to come in the years ahead
In addition to wholesale closures, closure of wards and departments, and the boarding up of old blocks to be replaced by new build leaves lots of areas needing safe clearing and remediation of residual risks.
I have witnessed laboratories abandoned without a second thought for the long-term implications of waste left behind, and have had to deal with an entire hospital that was stripped of all that was of value with the rest left in situ.
That is clearly unacceptable as the risks of any later clean-up can be particularly dangerous but must be completed and signed off before soft strip is completed and hard strip commences. Builders usually give the premises a wide berth until this is completed.
It is clearly not a UK problem but occurs also in the US. There, “despite the fact that inspectors found mercury, blood, needles and infectious waste in the former Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette, the state Department of Environmental Protection said there’s no urgency to clean up the site, a stance that has raised the ire of city officials.
“Jeannette Solicitor Scott Avolio was highly critical of the DEP for not pressing to get the Route 30 site cleaned up, even though city officials believe it poses an immediate threat to public health and safety.
“The building has holes in the roof and contains asbestos and black mold, according to a DEP report. A state inspection in December found mercury, blood, needles and bags of infectious medical waste scattered inside the building, the report stated.
Not an easy task, but one that would have been much more straightforward if the work had been completed at the time of closure.