MPs to be updated on NHS clinical waste following environmental breaches

Parliament will be updated today on how clinical waste will be disposed of after a company serving NHS hospitals was found to have breached its environmental permits.

NHS hospitals are affected.
NHS hospitals are affected.

NHS trusts were left needing a new waste disposal supplier after enforcement action was launched against Health Environmental Services (HES).

The company reportedly allowed tonnes of excess waste to pile up at its waste sites in England, including one in Normanton. An update to the House of Commons is expected today from Health Minister Steve Barclay.

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It is understood that a new contractor, yet to be named, has been found to process NHS waste.

Bosses at NHS Trusts in Leeds, Wakefield, Calderdale and Huddersfield said no operations had been cancelled as a result of the environmental breaches.

A Cobra meeting was reportedly chaired by Matt Hancock last month over the issue.

Last night a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The government has continued to work with the Environment Agency and the NHS to put contingency plans in place to prevent any disruption.

“As a result, a number of affected NHS trusts have now signed new contracts with another waste disposal company.

“Parliament will be formally updated tomorrow, as soon as the House returns from recess.”

Paula Sherriff, the Labour for Dewsbury and Shadow Health Minister, said MPs should have been updated sooner.

She said: “It’s shocking that the Health Secretary has delayed sharing information concerning this horrendous situation with Parliament.

“We need to be given a full and comprehensive explanation of how the Department of Health let this happen and what strategy is being followed to deal with the gruesome problem safely and swiftly.”

The Environment Agency said a criminal investigation was launched after the breaches were discovered. HES was found to be in breach of its permits at four of its six sites dealing with clinical waste.