East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has informed staff of no less than 40 incidents in the last 3 months when clinical waste was being sent to the laundry, some in clinical waste bags only but mostly in linen bags.
The Trust notes that “this is clearly not trust policy and poses significant health and safety risks to staff involved with laundry processing.
“It is difficult to pin down the wards and departments where this is happening as laundry is not traced beyond the hospital site.
These things happen, when policy is not sufficient and training inadequate. We do not know why it took 40 incidents before action was taken, but at least informing staff to raise awareness if a good first step. However, a robust root and branch review of clinical and other waste management processes and procedures seems overdue.