Trying to help brings only frustration

A sobering report from Total Essex tells of a Chelmsford couple who must feel like banging their heads against the nearest availlable brick wall.

When one of them was started on self-injection therapy, the couple were intent on doing rhe right thing. Sharps into a suitable container, to be removed for disposal. But then the problem started. the GP who prescribed the drugs, and they syringes, and the needles, woud not take in a single small sharps bin for disposal. Nor would the nurses. Nor would the local hospital. The Local Authority exhibited the most unbelievable buearocracy with a steady stream on time- and money-wasting nonsense to manage a problem that could so easily be solved with a little good will and common sense.

Devolved budgeting is an inevitable feature of our lives, and it is undertandable that no one agency will step in to accept a cost that might be the responsibility of another. But ‘customer service’ must never be overlooked.


“Derek Cooper, 79, volunteered to give his 84-year-old wife Lois blood-thickening  injections at home prior to an operation to save the NHS the costs of a district nurse calling.

“When he tried to dispose safely of the needles and empty containers, he ran into bureaucracy – with both his GP and Broomfield Hospital refusing to put the waste in their own bins and two official council contractors visiting his home.

“I was told the local doctors have no facility for disposing of clinical waste from patients’ homes and that it was the responsibility of the local council,” he said.

“I was prescribed the needles by my GP, shown the injection procedure by the nurse, who gave me the official box for their disposal and I carried out the injections leaving me with some clinical waste.

“Fine until then. But my GP’s surgery would not accept this small amount of waste to dispose of with theirs. Why, I do not know.

“They gave me a local council phone number saying they have to collect and dispose of it.

“I phoned the council waste management and a council employee called round, in a council vehicle, just for a signature to say I had clinical waste for collection.

“I asked him if he was going to take my waste needles and he said a contractor had to collect them.

“This disposal process has lasted over two weeks, took two callers, and duplicated paperwork.

What a pathetic tale of incompetence. In these straightened times, job losses are increasingly likley. It seems that there are opportunities in Chelmsford, with several people not pullingtheir weight and too much time on their hands!

Well done, Mr & Mrs Cooper, and to Total Essex, for reporting this story. Hopefully, they can bring sufficient pressure to bear to ensure such nonsence never happens again.

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