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Waste collection costs double after firm’s collapse

The cost of collecting hospital medical waste in Scotland has more than doubled since the collapse o..

The cost of collecting hospital medical waste in Scotland has more than doubled since the collapse of Healthcare Environmental Services, figures show.

The Lanarkshire-based company went to the wall after becoming embroiled in a waste stockpiling scandal.

Contingency measures to remove waste from every hospital, GP surgery, dental practice and pharmacy in Scotland were put in place.

But this has resulted in a "significant increased cost".

Contractors are receiving more than £460,000 per week to dispose of the hazardous materials following the collapse of Healthcare Environmental Services (HES), according to a Freedom of Information request made by the Press Association.

But Garry Pettigrew, the ex-boss of HES, which went into liquidation four months after all of its staff were made redundant, has claimed his firm charged a maximum of £11m per year – about £211,500 per week – for the collections.

The Scottish government said the contingency measures in place were robust and "ensure that the environment and human health are appropriately protected".

However, leading bacteriologist Prof Hugh Pennington, of Aberdeen University, expressed concerns about both the safety risks and the value for money under the contingency plans and called for an inquiry into the situation.

He said: "On the face of it it does sound as if there wasn't a contingency plan that was going to deliver value for money and there was a contingency plan that certainly wasn't as safe, from what I've heard, as the work that was being done before.

"If it's costing twice as much then the public is being put at a disadvantage.

"Waste is being generated 24/7 and has to be got rid of, safely as well.

"If what I've been told is true people are being put, unnecessarily, at a greater risk than they should be."

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Health Monica Lennon added: "Professor Pennington is right to raise concerns and the SNP government would be foolish to dismiss these. HES treated their staff appallingly and tax payers are having to clean up the financial and environmental mess left behind."

'Significant increased cost'

The FoI response from NHS Scotland shows that about £7m was spent on contingency waste measures in just 15 weeks – equivalent to about £465,000 per week.

The bulk of this went on "operational and logistics" measures for collecting the waste, while £2.2m went on disposal costs.

Emails between NHS officials discussing waste contingency plans, which were also released under FoI, make reference to the "significant increased cost compared to previously".

Correspondence also shows some GP practices did not have any collections for nearly a month between December last year and January, resulting in "lots of bags of smelly waste lying in corridors or stored in cupboards etc which is unacceptable and also a hazard".

BBC Scotland published pictures in January showing bags of clinical waste piled high atRead More – Source

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I lost my arms and legs – stop it happening to others

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his fac..

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his face removed has called for mandatory training on sepsis for NHS staff.

Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is a serious complication of an infection, which can have devastating consequences if not treated quickly.

There were delays in spotting Tom Ray's sepsis.

He says a commitment is needed to avoid more tragedies.

Tom's story

Tom Ray was fit and healthy and living in Rutland in the East Midlands before he contracted sepsis at the age of 38 in 1999.

He had had a successful career in corporate banking and was in the process of setting up a business with his pregnant wife, Nic, when he fell ill.

His sepsis – thought to be caused by a cut to his gum during a trip to the dentist, combined with a chest infection – came on rapidly and led to vomiting and a high temperature.

But it took five hours at the hospital he was admitted to before the condition was diagnosed.

He spent months in a coma, during which time his wife Nic gave birth to their second child, Freddy.

His recovery has been a long and gruelling process, involving years of plastic surgery. (more…)

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Health

I lost my arms and legs – stop it happening to others

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his fac..

A man who woke from a coma to discover both his arms and legs had been amputated and part of his face removed has called for mandatory training on sepsis for NHS staff.

Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is a serious complication of an infection, which can have devastating consequences if not treated quickly.

There were delays in spotting Tom Ray's sepsis.

He says a commitment is needed to avoid more tragedies.

Tom's story

Tom Ray was fit and healthy and living in Rutland in the East Midlands before he contracted sepsis at the age of 38 in 1999.

He had had a successful career in corporate banking and was in the process of setting up a business with his pregnant wife, Nic, when he fell ill.

His sepsis – thought to be caused by a cut to his gum during a trip to the dentist, combined with a chest infection – came on rapidly and led to vomiting and a high temperature.

But it took five hours at the hospital he was admitted to before the condition was diagnosed.

He spent months in a coma, during which time his wife Nic gave birth to their second child, Freddy.

His recovery has been a long and gruelling process, involving years of plastic surgery. (more…)

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Health

NHS ‘should not prescribe acne drug’

The parents of young people who have killed themselves and patients unable to have sex are calling f..

The parents of young people who have killed themselves and patients unable to have sex are calling for the NHS to stop prescribing acne drug Roaccutane.

Ed Henthorn said it had caused him erectile dysfunction, psychosis and suicidal thoughts.

And one man who believes his son killed himself after taking the drug said the risks "are just too high".

Manufacturer Roche said "millions of patients worldwide have benefited from taking the drug".

The majority of those who take the drug have a positive experience.

'Pretty overwhelming'

"I used to think about girls… but my feelings, thoughts, just faded away," Ed Henthorn told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

He was 19 when he took Roaccutane. He describes his acne as mild but bad enough to want to treat.

After three weeks he started to experience side-effects, including reduced energy and sex drive.

Then he experienced erectile dysfunction.

"That was why I decided to stop taking it," he said. (more…)

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