The NHS has been on the ground since day one providing health advice, and coordinating the local community efforts. NHS staff are on site at The Curve, 4 Bard Road, W10 6TP from 10am-8pm every day.
GPs have been asked to prioritise patients affected by the fire. You can make an appointment with your own GP. If you need to see a GP on a weekday evening or at the weekend, you can book an ‘out of hours’ appointment either through your own practice, or at the St Charles Health and Wellbeing Centre by calling 111.
For anyone who needs emotional support right away, the NHS helpline (sometimes called the ‘Single Point of Access’ or ‘SPA’) is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number is: 0800 0234 650.
Yes. The NHS outreach team is knocking on thousands of doors and paying visits to people currently displaced in hotels. We also have NHS engagement leads who meet regularly with voluntary organisations, community groups, and other local representatives to listen and respond to the needs of the people living in the area. If you have not yet been visited by our outreach team and you would like to be, call the NHS 24/7 helpline on 0800 0234 650.
You can call the NHS mental health helpline (0800 0234 650) on behalf of others if they need urgent help.
Toxic chemicals were detected in the bloodstreams of the survivors. What is the risk of harm to local residents?
Smoke from all fires is toxic. Chemicals that can be present in smoke include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen bromide. However, chemicals produced when the Grenfell Tower fire was burning will not be present now as the fire has been extinguished, and the public is no longer at risk.
The amount of toxic substances will vary with the specific materials involved in a fire, its temperature and the amount of oxygen. Smoke inhalation may lead to toxins being absorbed into the body, including carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. These chemicals would only have stayed in the body for a short period time and will no longer be present now. Residents who were not directly impacted by fire and exposure to smoke are unlikely to have been exposed to elevated levels of toxins within the smoke.
If the air quality is within safe limits, why are people still experiencing respiratory difficulties?
Respiratory illnesses have a number of causes other than exposure to fire. Public Health England has confirmed that the air quality around Grenfell Tower is at safe levels for residents.
The CCG is aware that residents are still concerned about respiratory conditions, so health workers based within local community centres have been directing people to their GPs for assessment, treatment and advice. Those residents who require respiratory screening or ongoing treatment can be fast-tracked by GP referral into our community respiratory service. These patients will be seen within 14 days of referral.
This website contains health information and links to NHS Choices symptom management for various conditions including respiratory issues.
Advice for residents who are experiencing acute health consequences is to call either NHS 111 for urgent advice or 999 for an emergency response.
Was there asbestos in the building? If so, what are the potential risks from being exposed to asbestos?
There was asbestos in the building which was bound in ceiling coverings and in panels in airing cupboards. There have been no asbestos fibres detected in the area immediately surrounding the building since the fire. Risks to health from asbestos usually follow long-term exposure in a workplace setting.
What was the cladding made of and are there any potential risks to local residents that may have inhaled it?
The cladding was made from Aluminium Composite Material which would have formed smoke and other chemicals during the fire. People from the surrounding area who may have inhaled smoke at the time of the fire will have cleared substances such as hydrogen cyanide from their bodies within a few hours of inhaling it. There are no long term risks from such brief exposures.
Touching debris from the fire would be very unlikely to pose any long-term health risks.
Are there any potential long term health risks for residents who were in or close to the building and inhaled smoke, but did not stay in hospital?
People who inhaled smoke but were not unwell enough to require hospital admission are very unlikely to have any long term health risks.
Residents who were not directly impacted by the fire, who didn't suffer significant smoke inhalation and are generally fit and well, will have minimal long-term health problems resulting from the fire. There is no evidence of any impact on fertility from temporary exposure either.
The CCG is working closely with local GP practices to ensure they have capacity to see and respond to patients who are attending appointments with breathing/chest problems. Our practices that are based within the local area are aware that there may be an increase in respiratory queries and these patients are to be prioritised appropriately.
What advice, information or training have GPs received about the respiratory difficulties people are experiencing since the fire?
GPs are providing a front-line service for respiratory problems for all residents. The CCG is working closely with the community respiratory service provider, Imperial Healthcare Trust. The Trust are providing advice and guidance for GPs to help them support residents with respiratory conditions.
The CCG has been working with Imperial Healthcare Trust, to put in place a ‘fast track’ referral process for patients to be seen within 14 days in the community respiratory service. Some patients may need a chest x-ray prior to being seen which can be accessed at St Charles Urgent Care Centre.
For further information about the ‘fast track’ community respiratory service provision, speak to your GP.
The CCG has contacted and supported all practices in the surrounding area to ascertain if there has been a significant increase in the number of residents reporting respiratory/breathing problems. The CCG can confirm that our practices have not experienced an increase in residents presenting with respiratory conditions, however the CCG will continue to monitor this closely.
The CCG has provided all practices with information and details on how to ‘fast track’ patients to the community respiratory service.
Are there plans for long term studies on the respiratory health of the local population, especially children, young people and those susceptible to lung problems?
Public Health England has been closely assessing the impact of the Grenfell Tower fire on air quality during and after the fire, and there has been no detectable deterioration in air quality. Currently local GP practices have not reported an increase in patients with respiratory conditions. We consider there to be no wider health risk to the local population relating to air quality, and therefore, there is no plan for long term studies on the respiratory health of the local population.
Are there any health tests local residents should have if they are concerned about smoke inhalation or toxicity?
People who were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation will have follow-on care from and any appropriate tests carried out by hospital doctors. People who inhaled smoke but were not unwell enough to require hospital admission are very unlikely to have any long term health risks.
Smoke from any fire is toxic, and chemicals that can be present in smoke include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen bromide. However, chemicals produced by the Grenfell Tower fire will not be present now as the fire has been extinguished, and the public is no longer at risk.
The amounts of toxic substances will vary with the specific materials involved in a fire, its temperature and the amount of oxygen present. Smoke inhalation may lead to toxins being absorbed into the body, including carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. These chemicals would only have stayed in the body for a short period of time and will no longer be present. Residents who were not directly impacted by fire are unlikely to have been exposed to elevated levels of toxins within the smoke.
What should I do if I am concerned about any respiratory symptoms following the fire; for instance if my asthma/COPD is worsening?
Respiratory illnesses can be caused by a number of reasons other than exposure to fire. Public Health England has confirmed that the air quality around Grenfell Tower is safe for residents. The CCG is aware that residents are still concerned about respiratory conditions so health workers based within the community centres are directing people to their GP for assessment, treatment and advice. Those residents who require respiratory screening/on-going treatment can be ‘fast tracked’ by GP referral into our community respiratory service. These patients will be seen within 14 days of referral.
The CCG launched a website for residents to access health information and this includes links to online symptom management support for various health complaints including respiratory issues.
Advice for residents who feel they have respiratory issues is to call either NHS 111 for urgent advice or 999 for an emergency response.
The statement from Public Health confirms that the air quality is safe now. But how safe was the air when the building was burning? What are the effects for me if I stood watching the fire for 16 hours?
Air quality in North Kensington on the day of the fire remained within normal limits. People who observed the fire but did not have any direct smoke inhalation will have had minimal risk to their physical health.
Have people been accessing the tower illegally? Will there be any health risks if they were not wearing protective clothing?
If anyone were to enter the building without respiratory protection, they are at minimal risk as there has been no detection of asbestos within the atmosphere in the building.
The Met police have confirmed that under no circumstances is anyone allowed to enter the building without authorisation or without respiratory protection. The building has been under 24/7 protection/surveillance since the night of the fire.
Spirometry is a simple test used to help diagnose and monitor certain lung conditions by measuring how much air you can breathe out in one forced breath. It's carried out using a device called a spirometer, which is a small machine attached by a cable to a mouthpiece.
Some of the conditions that can be picked up and monitored using spirometry include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)