Investigation after shipping container with used medical waste left unlocked

Stepping Hill Hospital bosses are investigating after an outdoor shipping container filled with used medical waste was left unlocked in the hospital grounds.

Images sent to the Manchester Evening News show dozens of large yellow refuse bins – the type used to dispose of contaminated waste – lined up outside Stepping Hill Hospital, in Stockport.

Pictures (some reproduced below and others to view at the Manchester Evening News) shows a shipping container with the door left open and loose items of PPE – including aprons, masks and gloves – unbagged inside.

Another picture shows yellow and orange bin bags piled high on top of metal rollers, rather than inside bins. One person who is often at the hospital, but asked not to be named, claims numerous bins containing contaminated waste are regularly left uncollected – sometimes for months on end.

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital, did not deny that bins are sometimes left unemptied for months. However the Trust insisted that clear procedures for the management of clinical waste are in place. They said the area containing this waste could be accessed by the public, but it is not a public area and there is signage in place to advise the public.

Lame excuses of course, but is this any worse than will be found in the majority of UK hospitals with waste carts left unlocked in the far corner of the hospital car park or some other unsuitable position that is assessable to all.

It’s a long time since we did the audit of hospital waste management standards and in particular the management and storage of bulk waste carts. Perhaps it’s time to update that study?

Standards of clinical waste management in UK hospitals

It wasn’t good back in  2006 and I feel confident that it will be no better today, and certainly not in Stockport.

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