Con­tro­ver­sial firm also had Ed­in­burgh Zoo con­tract

The Herald on Sunday - - NEWS FOCUS -

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.

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