A survey is being carried out to identify remaining asbestos at St Luke’s Hospital ahead of its safe removal as part of the hospital’s refurbishment, according to a spokesman for Steward Health Care Malta.

The US company that runs the hospital said that the “absolute majority” of the asbestos at St Luke’s had already been removed. However, during recent innovation more was discovered and removed. 

“It is not uncommon to discover asbestos during renovation work on older buildings, as in the past it was a commonly used building material. In recent weeks, asbestos was removed from a previously unutilised area within St Luke’s Hospital that is being refurbished as part of the expansion of the physiotherapy outpatients department,” the spokesman said.

He added that all asbestos-containing material (ACM) had already been removed from refurbished areas.

Steward Malta has contracted a specialised, authorised ACM surveyor to identify asbestos in areas where construction or refurbishment will take place, he said.

In recent weeks, asbestos was removed from a previously unutilised area within St Luke’s Hospital

The asbestos was being removed by a certified contractor following strict removal guidelines and containment procedures in line with all local regulations and international best practice.

“As part of the wider project to develop the St Luke’s Campus, a survey is in process to identify ACM across the whole campus, which will all be safely removed,” the spokesman said.

Last month – almost exactly two years after it took over the 30-year government concession to manage St Luke’s, Gozo and Karin Grech hospitals – Steward Malta submitted a development application for the hospital’s long-awaited revamp. Since the US company took over the contract, it has come under fire for not carrying out works at the run-down hospital despite promises to do so. 

In October, physiotherapists across the healthcare system resorted to industrial action after promised refurbishment works at Malta’s main physiotherapy department – situated at St Luke’s Hospital – failed to materialise. The strike affected hundreds of patients.