Dis­posal firm says no hu­man parts held in back­log

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS - DON MORT HEALTH COR­RE­SPON­DENT

A DIS­POSAL firm un­der crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion over its han­dling of NHS waste has de­nied claims that hu­man body parts were caught up in a back­log at its sites.

Garry Pet­ti­grew, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Health­care En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices (HES), said it was not true that am­pu­tated limbs and other tis­sue were among the refuse that built up.

Fif­teen NHS trusts in York­shire and Hum­ber have ditched their waste con­tracts with the com­pany. En­vi­ron­men­tal en­force­ment ac­tion has been launched and re­stric­tions placed on the HES site in Nor­man­ton, West York­shire.

Mr Pet­ti­grew told the BBC that “anatom­i­cal waste” was al­ways stored se­curely and pri­ori­tised for de­struc­tion.

And he re­peated his claim, made when the is­sue be­came pub­lic last Fri­day, that a “lack of in­cin­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity” was be­hind the prob­lem.

He told the BBC: “Ev­ery sin­gle part that peo­ple are re­fer­ring to there is dealt with se­curely, pro­fes­sion­ally, and any anatom­i­cal waste would be stored in fridges and at the same time pri­ori­tised for out­ward bound.”

On Tues­day, Health Min­is­ter Stephen Bar­clay told MPs that more than 3.5 tonnes of hu­man body parts was stock­piled at four sites by HES. The com­pany col­lected £31m last year to burn waste, but “just 1.1 per cent of this clin­i­cal waste is anatom­i­cal”.

Some of the com­pany’s NHS con­tracts have now been ter­mi­nated af­ter the En­vi­ron­ment Agency said on Oc­to­ber 5 that HES had been found to be in breach of per­mits at four of its six sites in Eng­land which deal with clin­i­cal waste and a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion had been launched.

As part of its en­force­ment ac­tiv­ity, it has par­tially sus­pended the com­pany’s per­mit at the Nor­man­ton site, which will pre­vent it from ac­cept­ing any more in­cin­er­a­tor-only waste.

The Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency (Sepa) also con­firmed that it is­sued en­force­ment no­tices at sites in Dundee and Shotts last month, where its of­fi­cers are con­duct­ing “on­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing”.

The Depart­ment of Health and So­cial Care (DHSC) said there was “ab­so­lutely no risk” to pub­lic health.

Yes­ter­day Mr Pet­ti­grew told the BBC that the fault was down to a fall in ca­pac­ity at in­cin­er­a­tors.

He said: “We’ve had this con- tract since 2010. If you go back to the ar­ti­cles in 2010, this was the jewel in the crown of NHS Eng­land, that we had saved them £30m for award­ing this con­tract to us.

“For the last eight years we have done this con­tract and never seen the si­t­u­a­tion we are in now.”

NHS trusts in Leeds, York, Sh­effield, Brad­ford and North Lin­colnshire were among those served by the HES Nor­man­ton site.

The York­shire trusts said they had con­tin­gency plans in place and no op­er­a­tions had been can­celled as re­sult of con­cerns over HES.

From Mon­day morn­ing, fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment com­pany Mi­tie took over their waste dis­posal ser­vices.

Top, and above, hob­by­ist Ge­off Arm­strong with his model of a Mark IV Bri­tish First World War tank, which he fash­ioned out of wood, and which will be put on show at Carlisle Cas­tle.

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