Posted on: 5 April 2019

(Mental Health inpatient and Community, CAMHS, Talking Therapies, CIS, Sexual Health, School Nursing, Grenfell Health & Wellbeing)

You will have seen the reports in the press about toxins found in the North Kensington area after the Grenfell Tower Fire.

We wanted to confirm to you that the general advice for the public (which was published on 28 March – see below) also applies to staff working in the area.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government also said,

“The type of contamination highlighted in Prof Stec’s report is generally considered to be very low risk to health because people would need to be exposed to the soil over long periods of time.”

The Report has caused some concern amongst residents in the North Kensington area and this is the Health advice we have published for the public:

Our advice to staff is the same: if you have any concerns about your health from working (or living) in the area you should see your GP. You can also speak to our Occupational Health Service (OHS) for advice about it if you are worried about pre-existing conditions like asthma. Staff can refer themselves to the CNWL Occupational Health Service at any time; call 020 3317 3350.

Dr Justin Mokhlis, Consultant Occupational Health Physician for CNWL Occupational Health Services says,

“The Occupational Health team are available to offer brief telephone health advice to any staff member who has concerns about the effects on their health, following exposure during their time working at the Grenfell site.

“Most staff members will not require a routine face to face OH appointment.

“If a staff member has a pre-existing condition or is concerned about the effects of the exposure on their health, and wishes to discuss their concerns relating to the exposure in more detail, the OH team are also available to see them in clinic to review their fitness for work and other support that they may require.”

“However, the occupational health team are not able to conduct enhanced health checks, and they will need to contact their GP if this is required.”

“If a staff member is pregnant, please contact the OH team to arrange an occupational health review.”

Further information:

The Government issued this more detailed explanatory note:

Environmental contamination

Professor Stec’s research has concluded that there is an increased risk of a number of health problems associated with the levels of contaminants found, including Respiratory conditions and cancer. This risk is based on repeated, long-term exposure.

The research states that further analysis of the area around the Tower is necessary to understand the potential health risks. That is what we are doing through the programme of additional environmental checks, which will inform any changes to public health advice.

Our current public health advice recognises that contaminants in soil can be harmful but need to be breathed in, eaten or come into regular contact with the skin on a repeated basis over a long period of time. The advice therefore is aimed at reducing contact with debris or the soil.

This is available here: 
Factsheet for contaminated land (PDF)

The research states that the data needs to be interpreted with caution as soil is complex and can vary significantly, even within a small area. The comprehensive programme of environmental checks will also seek to identify the potential source(s) of the contamination, by additionally reviewing any previous uses of the land. This is a key part of Stage 1 (background and scoping) of the environmental checks.

The full statement is here:
Community Update 28/03/19 (PDF)

I will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

My thanks to you all for everything you do for patients and their families in the area.

Ann Sheridan