After a new contract was awarded in the wake of the scandal involving Lanarkshire-based Healthcare Environmental Services, NHS waste disposal in Scotland will now be carried out in Wales. The company was stripped of its NHS contracts in Scotland and England in October after clinical waste – including human body parts – was found to be piling up at its facilities. The company then ceased trading in December, leaving staff without their salaries for the month of December. Health secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed in a statement that Spanish company Tradebe Healthcare National, which operates in Wrexham in North Wales, will now take on the contract. Under a new contract, “yellow bag” hospital waste, will contain sharp materials such as syringes, will be sent to Wrexham, North Wales. “Orange bag” waste, will include items contaminated with bodily fluids.
MSP Graham Simpson said: “No sooner had Nicola Sturgeon announced a climate emergency than her government confirms plans to send clinical waste 250 miles (402km) away. That has an obvious negative impact on the environment, yet her SNP administration presses ahead with it anyway.”
“People will see this decision and wonder why Scotland under the SNP isn’t capable of disposing of its own medical waste.” A Scottish government spokesperson said: “There is no bigger priority than tackling climate change, and the first minister has made clear that we will take action to ensure Scotland continues to be recognized as a world leader in this area.” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” at the SNP conference last month, and has since committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045.
Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon said: “There must be an inquiry into what has gone wrong, and for proper scrutiny to take place over the SNP’s decision to award a £100m of public funds to another private firm without considering Scottish Labour’s call to bring the service back into the NHS.”