Healthcare Waste Audit
A comprehensive waste audit and evaluation service is available, for healthcare establishments and others generating or responsible for the management of clinical wastes, to encompass all aspects of waste management including waste segregation, packaging and storage, handling, transport and disposal, and all aspects of environmental and personal safety.
|Waste management||Site hygiene|
|Waste minimization||Satellite services|
|Storage & access control||Cost-effective solutions|
All healthcare establishments including Hospital and Ambulance Trusts and PCTs should undertake, at least annually, a comprehensive audit of clinical waste management. It is the responsibility of senior managers to establish and maintain effective waste management arrangements, which must be properly monitored and regularly audited. The existence of any policy, no matter how comprehensive that policy may be, is not in itself indicative of satisfactory practice and robust and independent audit procedures are essential for monitoring of performance.
Audit may be undertaken in-house. Although often convenient, in-house audit undertaking rarely provides the best financial option, is prone to error and omission, and may be critically compromised by lack of independence. Put simply, familiarity encourages complacency. Properly performed, audit provides the information necessary to develop and deliver a structured waste management plan. It will provide key information regarding the composition of individual waste streams and the accuracy of waste segregation and waste minimisation schemes. This proves invaluable to identify accurately the location, type and quantity of waste produced, to identify possible options for appropriate re-use or recycling, and to identify opportunities for waste minimisation. Crucially, audit plays a vital role in demonstrating compliance with regulatory standards and compliance, in line with the Duty of Care, to ensure that waste is effectively segregated, safely and securely handled and stored prior of removal from site, and treated and disposed of appropriately.
The healthcare waste audit service comprises a 1 day “snap shot”, or more extensive 3 or 5 day audit. The 1 day “snap shot” normally comprises:
- Prior review of site waste policy documentation, relevant sections of corresponding Safety Policy & Code of Practice documentation, Standard Operating Procedures for waste management, incident policy
- Contractor services – waste collections, reporting, recycling
- Interview with key staff
- Estates management, Waste Manager
- Nursing managers, ward staff, A&E, HDU, ITU etc
- Safety Officer, Risk Manager, Security Manager
- Support services, including subcontracted services (catering, hygiene, ancillary support)
- Infection prevention & Control team
- Pathology and other diagnostic/investigative services managers
- Purchasing, supply & distribution manager(s)
- Unsupervised walk-round to assess overall standards
- Performance spot checks
- Waste producers
- disposal, segregation, composition
- Hygiene services
- Portering & waste management staff
- Ward/department level segregation
- Waste composition
- Observation & review of compliance with disposal and segregation policy
- Containers for clinical and related wastes
- Suitability and locations
- Clear and appropriate marking
- Security, accessibility
- Container hygiene
- Closure, source marking and handling of primary waste containers
- Consumables supply
- Internal collection and transport of wastes
- Storage areas for wastes
- Satellite storage areas
- PPE; safety standards; site hygiene; spill kits; incident policy
- Waste minimization; recycling; packaging wastes
- Domestic wastes from clinical areas
- Confidential paper waste
- Laboratory and post-mortem wastes
- Local waste treatment
Though a “snap shot” audit is inevitably limited by time constraint, this will additionally include an initial assessment of these additional critical areas that affect overall performance of even the most comprehensive waste management policy, and which prove critical to the development of best practice:
- Interface between Trust management and contractors, service providers etc
- Catering contractors
- Hygiene and ancillary support contractors
- Waste disposal contractors
- Training and update training including training for contract staff, student nurses etc
- Training and update materials, notices and marking of containers etc
- Incident and accident reporting structures, with particular reference to contract staff
- Vehicle standards
Follow-up audit and more detailed management assistance can be provided as required, following review of an initial report.
The audit service includes a comprehensive written review of the findings, promoting and supporting best practice, identifying targets for improvement or development, and identifying deficiencies where these may exist. This report provides a guide for subsequent and more frequent in-house audit, and as a comparator for annual performance review.
Full client confidentiality is assured at all times.
Note that a 1 day “snap shot” audit may be undertaken on a single day only. As activity varies with time of day, we recommend that this is undertaken over 2 half days, timed to coincide with the periods of greater activity. This additionally facilitates meetings with key staff.
Comprehensive 3 or 5 day audits, or more extensive audits that include a detailed evaluation of waste composition require advance planning, as do Trust-wide and multi-site audits. Please call to discuss.