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Former trades and maintenance staff at Dunedin Hospital could be exposed to asbestos

A response centre has been set up at Dunedin Hospital following the discovery of asbestos on four floors of the clinical services building.

The hospital morgue has been closed; and while patients and staff are being told they are at low risk, trades people working at the hospital in the past could have come in contact with the potentially deadly material.

Following the announcement that traces of asbestos had been discovered in the clinical services block at Dunedin Hospital further results yesterday showed asbestos in the mortuary.

Swabs have returned positive (which show the presence of asbestos fibres) for the mortuary area on the lower ground floor, the main stairwell (from the lower ground floor through to the second floor) and the third floor laboratories lobby area; plus several rooms in molecular pathology.

All air testing to date remains clear.

A Southland DHB spokeswoman says the mortuary has been closed.

Alternative arrangements for funeral directors, police, the coroner's office and others who come to the mortuary have been advised.

The central stairwell (off Cumberland Street) will be closed tonight and it is planned that decontamination cleaning will take place early tomorrow morning.

Some lifts in the ward block are available for use, as is the south stairwell.

The decontamination cleaning is expected to be complete by the end of the day (tomorrow).

Some outpatient appointments have been cancelled due to the find. Source: 1 NEWS

The ailing state of Dunedin Hospital is in the spotlight again, following the discovery of potentially deadly asbestos on four floors of the building.

The find has forced the cancellation of ultrasound appointments, and access restrictions.

"We took immediate action, patient safety, staff safety. Public safety is our number one priority, so we closed down those areas," Southern District Health Board chief executive officer Carol Heatley said.

An asbestos removal team has been brought in to address the issue, while the discovery has sparked accusations the Government is stalling a $300 million redevelopment of the hospital.

Health services have been disrupted and a response centre set up following the discovery. Source: 1 NEWS