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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Radiation warning for hospitals
John Radcliffe Hospital
The Radcliffe Trust says improvements have been made
Two hospitals have received warnings for allowing the discharge of "too much" radioactive waste.

The Environment Agency has issued enforcement notices to the Oxford Radcliffe NHS Trust at its Churchill and John Radcliffe hospitals.

A routine visit by inspectors found that as well as the waste discharge, security measures needed to be improved at the sites.

The Trust said the terms of the enforcement notices have been addressed and that there was no threat to the public.

'Better protection'

The hospitals have also been warned to keep better records of radioactive substances.

Inspectors also found security arrangements for the storage of those substances were not tight enough and they "failed to guard against loss or unauthorised access."

Paul Hughes, the Agency inspector for the hospitals said: "Although the risk to the public and environment is very small, the action taken against the hospitals was nevertheless necessary.

"The actions in the notices will ensure that the public and the environment are better protected."

Computer system

The Trust accepted the findings of the inspectors, but said the increase in waste was due to an increase in the number of patients being treated.

A statement from the Trust said a new computer system is being installed to allow better records to be kept and security has been improved since the inspectors' visit.

Trust chief executive David Highton said: "We appreciate the input and advice of the Environment Agency and will continue to work closely with them to ensure that we meet their standards and address the issues they have raised."

The Churchill hospital was issued with an enforcement notice in July 2000 following the temporary loss of a radioactive source.


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