Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment raises mould and asbestos fears

HEALTH Minister Michael Ferguson and the head of the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment have rejected claims from Labor that patients are at risk following the discovery of mould and asbestos in two different blocks of the facility.

Opposition health spokeswoman Rebecca White blew the whistle on a mould infestation in temporary buildings designed to house patients during the RHH redevelopment in parliament last week.

Separately, redevelopment project director Ben Moloney released a statement on an incident which saw a sub-contractor breach asbestos protocol, in which he emphasised that no one was at risk.

Ms White aired her concerns again on Monday.

“We understand mould has been found in large sections and will take weeks to remove,” Ms White said.

“Additionally, workers are now believed to have been exposed to asbestos because procedures around its removal in older parts of the hospital were not properly followed.

“Of course that will have an impact on the timeline to decant and demolish B Block and puts the government’s intended completion date of 2018 in significant doubt.”

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the redevelopment is “in safe hands and will be delivered on time and on budget” and accused the opposition of scare tactics.

“The fit out of the temporary facility is progressing despite some additional work being required as a result of damage to a number of modules during transit, which included some water damage,” he said.

“The Hodgman Liberal Government is delivering a state-of-the-art health facility to meet the needs of Tasmanians for generations to come.”