Radioactive medicines found in London street by member of the public

A package of radioactive medicines was found in the street by a member of the public after being lost in transit between two London hospitals.

The item, containing radiopharmaceuticals, is thought not to have been secured properly in the vehicle transporting it and, after coming loose, it came into contact with an internal door release and fell out while being moved between Siemens’ Mount Vernon hospital in London and London Bridge hospital in September.

Radiopharmaceuticals are radioactive medicines commonly used for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases including cancer, and are routinely transported to medical facilities across the country.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which has since served an improvement notice on Siemens Healthcare Limited, said there was no risk to the member of the public or harm to the environment from the package, which was undamaged.

The person who found it is said to have “quickly” contacted Siemens Healthcare to collect it, but no duration for how long the package was missing was given.

It is understood that such incidents are relatively rare.

The ONR said its investigation into what happened found shortfalls in Siemens Healthcare’s radiation risk assessment for the transport of the material, and said the company did not have appropriate plans in place to respond to the loss of the material. An improvement notice was issued under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The ONR said Siemens Healthcare had made progress in improving its arrangements since the incident, but added that more work was needed and that the notice must be complied with by 21 January.

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