A Mum is reported to be “utterly shocked” after being told she will have to pay to dispose of her 12-year-old diabetic daughter’s needles, and quite rightly so.
A council has told people that it will be introducing charges for “ad-hoc collections” of clinical waste.
Fenland District Council has said it will be introducing an £8 charge for “ad-hoc collections” of clinical waste, starting in September this year.
The move comes after the NHS told local authorities that they will no longer take back clinical waste at dispensaries and clinics.
Rachael Richmond, from Gorefield, is mum to Erin, who has type 1 diabetes and who fills a sharp bin every six weeks.
She slammed the policy change, saying: “I’m so annoyed. My daughter’s condition that requires needles is through no fault of her own and she needs the injections to survive so I feel that disposal should be included in NHS services.
“I’m already paying up to £100 per month for sensors to make her life easier. That is saving the NHS money, as I don’t use what they provide on prescription and now I find out I’m going to have to pay more.
“I can also see lots of needles being thrown in people’s bins – I won’t personally – but that will have a knock on effect, especially where they don’t have wheelie bins.
“Others will just either chuck them in the bin and not care or do something drastic to prove a point that we shouldn’t have to pay for disposal. Surely the council want dirty needles disposed of properly and the main way to do that is to offer a free service?
“Would you want to be a bin man knowing you might get stabbed by a needle through a black bin liner?”
Many people in the Fenland area have echoed Rachael’s complaints.
Lesley Biggs said: “My local chemist takes my needles back in a sharps box, why the hell do we have to pay for this service? It’s bad enough when we have to inject ourselves. I guess in the long run there will be more needles on the streets or in the parks.
“It’s wrong, especially for the diabetics who are on income support or low benefits. £8 is a rip off.”
Another person said: “£8 per collection? So now all the sharps are going to end up in the waste bins.”
Someone else added: “To say I am shocked would be an understatement.
“I wonder how many thousands of diabetics in Fenland this will affect who would normally be able to return their used needles safely to the chemist in a sharps box?”
It seems that the reason for this is down to misunderstanding, of perhaps just plain incompetence, somewhere between the Council and NHS.
Nobody should pay for these collections of their own clinical wastes. Instead, it should be charged to the NHS via GP budgets or to the CCG.