Wastage pollutes all corners of large institutions – and hospitals are no different.
Food goes uneaten, managers’ wages leave hospitals straining at the seams, and barely-ill patients block beds until they’re well.
But the stakes are raised in a medical institution where toxic and potentially lethal waste is present. Yet the spectre of poorly disposed harmful waste looms large on any hospital’s reputation.
The latest controversy surrounding medical waste is in Northern Ireland, where syringes, nappies and other pieces of used medical equipment were incorrectly sent for recycling.
This news was uncovered by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), which carried out an investigation at a waste processing facility.
The result of this error might sound minor but, according to the NIEA, has caused “major contamination of waste streams”.
A further Freedom of Information request revealed some of the objects found in the Belfast Trust’s recycling material. These included syringes, nappies, faeces, medical tubing, crutches and food.
The NIEA said, “While there is no current further investigation into this incident, NIEA will ensure, through future inspections, that producers of waste and waste handling companies are in compliance with regulations concerning waste treatment and movements.”
Many of the problems in the NI recycling furore stemmed from fractured communication between its waste collection company and the Belfast Trust. It’s a lesson that all hospitals need to learn from – without top-quality service, more controversies will plague you further down the line.
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