Controversial firm also had Edinburgh Zoo contract
THE firm embroiled in the clinical waste scandal is facing questions over whether animal remains were part of the company backlog.
Shotts-based Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) has been accused of stockpiling hundreds of tonnes of hospital waste, including body parts.
It has now emerged that Edinburgh Zoo also used the services of HES for animal remains.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh Western, said: “There are serious questions to be answered here. We need absolute confidence in the disposal of clinical and animal waste, and high standards must be maintained. There should be no risk to public safety.”
HES, which has sites across the UK, had over a dozen contracts with NHS trusts south of the Border terminated over an unauthorised backlog of clinical waste. The Environment Agency revealed a criminal investigation had been launched.
The NHS in Scotland also distanced itself from the firm by announcing that its contract with HES would not be renewed. In turn, the company cited a lack of incineration capacity and criticised the UK Government.
Early coverage of the row focused on claims body parts were included in the stockpile.
In an interview with the BBC in October, HES managing director Garry Pettigrew said the backlog has “nothing to do with anatomical waste”.
He added: “Any anatomical waste would be stored in fridges and, at the same time, prioritised for outward bound.”
HES is now under the spotlight over whether all animal remains have been disposed of and incinerated.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Zoo said they used HES’ services, but the work stopped in mid-December. Asked whether the work included the disposal of dead animals, she said: “Yes it did.”
HES has gone into a tailspin, with mass staff redundancies and unpaid wages. Sources say there is still a backlog of waste at the Shotts facility. Pettigrew could not be reached.