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Former GP at Christchurch Medical Practice, Dr Richard Jenkinson, died after asbestos exposure at Westminster Hospital, Bournemouth Coroners’ Court hears

A DOCTOR from Christchurch died from cancer after he was exposed to asbestos at a hospital while he was a student, an inquest heard.

Richard Jenkinson (56), of Harrow Road, was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2022 after suffering from a persistent cough and breathlessness.

Bournemouth Coroners’ Court heard how Dr Jenkinson, who passed away on 8th November this year, had written a statement detailing his employment history after his diagnosis.

The inquest took place at Bournemouth Coroners' Court
The inquest took place at Bournemouth Coroners' Court

Coroner Brendan Allen read the statement at the hearing, which explained he had been exposed to asbestos as a junior doctor while he was studying and working at Westminster Hospital.

Dr Jenkinson’s statement confirmed he had been posted at the hospital for periods between 1988 and 1991.

For some of this, he was required to stay on-site .

Dr Jenkinson recalled regularly using tunnels under the hospital which linked the three main buildings.

These were used by clinical staff and porters, the inquest was told.

The tunnels were around two metres wide and two-and-a-half metres high and dimly lit.

Dr Jenkinson recalled pipes throughout the tunnels on the ceilings and in the corridors were lagged with asbestos. He said the tunnels were “an unpleasant environment” and “poorly maintained”.

He had never seen them being cleaned and the pipes were in a poor state of repair.

The hospital closed in 1992 and was later demolished.

Dr Jenkinson moved to Christchurch and, after initially working as a locum, went on to become a partner at Christchurch Medical Practice, where he spent 26 years.

A statement from his GP, Dr Richard Simpson, was read to the court, which detailed Mr Jenkinson’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment, which included chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

His cause of death was given as malignant mesothelioma and the coroner recorded a conclusion that Mr Jenkinson died as a result of industrial disease.

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