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Porters sort out Raigmore Hospital's clinical waste

By Jamie Hall

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PORTERS are being forced to deal with clinical waste at Raigmore Hospital after a national contractor went bust.

Lanarkshire-based firm Healthcare Environment Services is contracted to safely dispose of waste at hospitals across Scotland.

However, the troubled company has hit financial difficulties after being stripped of major contracts in England due to a build-up of rubbish at some sites.

That has led to contingency plans being put in place, meaning hospital staff are dealing with waste in addition to their regular duties.

A spokesman for NHS Highland insisted steps has been taken to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.

“The current process for porters in dealing with waste is to decant from the waste rooms, and they are given gloves and aprons to do this,” he said.

“The waste from the ward is then taken to the main waste area, porters are given another set of gloves and aprons and then waste is decanted from the barrel to the trailer.

“Porters are being provided with masks and personal protective equipment in carrying out this work, as they would in their daily duties, to significantly reducing the risk of cross-contamination.”

Despite claims of waste “piling up” at Raigmore, a spokesman for NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) insisted the current procedures were in line with environmental guidelines.

“All sites across NHS Scotland have sufficient capacity for clinical waste to be stored safely for a period of 72 hours, ensuring there is no adverse impact on NHS services,” he said.

“Contingency waste management arrangements have been procured centrally by NSS in order to protect waste management services for the NHS across Scotland following the 72-hour period.

“All contingency measures are in line with regulatory standards and requirements enforced by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).”

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