At long last, the Environment Agency have issued revised guidance on the management of PPE from home healthcare workers treating patients with COVID-19 infection.
Too little, too late is something of an understatement. Indeed, the E-A process is a little like the current self-aggrandizement of all the flood prevention work that they’ve been doing well ignoring the fact that 18 months ago or thereabouts it was their inability to deal with a potential problem that caused millions and millions of pounds with the flood damage affecting vast swathes of this country.
As they state:
Normally personal protective equipment (PPE) waste from healthcare workers treating patients in their own homes would be:
- coded as healthcare waste (18 01 03* if infectious, or 18 01 04 if non-infectious)
- collected separately from the patient’s home through a courier collection service, or taken back to the relevant NHS England (NHSE) hospital or practice for disposal
As more people with COVID-19 (or suspected COVID-19) will need healthcare in their own homes we have produced this COVID-19 regulatory position statement (RPS) to minimise the:
- need for multiple separate collections of PPE waste from households
- risk of healthcare workers transmitting COVID-19 by taking PPE waste back to an NHSE hospital or practice
It’s quite silly to suggest the waste from the treatment to patients in their own home would be taken back to the relevant hospital or practice for disposal. What really happened, and Environment Agency are well aware of this, is that the community district nurses refused to put this waste in the boot of the car for return to base due to the risk of smell and spillage. As these were NHS fleet cars the nurses had the use of these seven days a week and we are conscious also a few dictations are going to the shops on Saturday morning and filling the boot with groceries when the day before it had held clinical waste.
So now, the environment agency have pronounced that:
You can only dispose of PPE waste through the householder’s black bag waste collection if you comply with the following conditions.
You can only put disposable PPE into the householder’s bin for non-recyclable waste – this typically includes aprons, gloves and masks (including fluid repellent items).
And this of course is exactly what has happened for the last 18 months, two years or so! They really are not fit for purpose if this is the best they can do.