Bed roll waste

Visiting today a highly regarded NHS Imaging (Radiology) Department – perhaps the biggest in London – I was able to see almost every room and treatment bay ranging from a wide variety of X-ray facilities through ultrasound, NMR and CT, and much specialist interventional radiology together with a busy embedded endoscopy units.

Hundreds of patients each day, 7 days a week, day and night. It’s a busy place seeing many hundreds of patents each week.  The majority will have their investigation while lying on a specialist examination table or trolley and those tables are each covered in a sheet of paper drawn from a roll mounted at the head.

At the end of every examination, that might be little more than a simple X-day of a hand or arm, a foot or leg or pelvis of abdomen,  that paper roll will be torn off and replaced. It will be somewhat scrumpled but clean, and is loosely gathered up and pushed into an orange sack. Every day, the department puts out over 50 bags of general orange bag waste and in the main these comprise little more than paper roll on which a fully or partially dressed outpatient has lain for 2 – 3 minutes.

This is not clinical waste. It is not sanitary or offensive waste.

It takes a vast amount of money and effort to collect and remove these bags, and is expensive to treat them. It is environmentally unsound, and an unacceptable means of disposal.

The cramped space of many examination rooms in the imaging department make placement of multiple waste receptacles difficult if not impossible. The practicality of space availability is an important consideration, but this is ridiculous. In these straitened times, it seems totally wrong to manage wastes like this, ever more so since this is one of the University Medical School centres that prides itself so vociferously in its waste management standards and presents itself as something of a centre of excellence in this field.

Perhaps they have money to burn, but with such costly segregation errors that wastes hige amounts of money and carries its own heavy environmental burden, the tax payer may see this differently.

see also Disposal of couch rolls

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