What’s gone wrong at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital?

Cleaners are struggling to cope as mounds of potentially hazardous clinical waste is left in wards and around Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.

A local paper, The Comet, has published some appalling pictures of the piles of clinical and other wastes around the Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

Take a look, and see how bad this is.  I would have thought this would be sufficient to prompt regulatory action by the Care Quality Commission.  However, perhaps the disapprobation of a local newspaper will be sufficient to get things tidied up and ensure no repeat of these hopelessly poor standards.

image18Questions must be asked of the hospital’s Estates Managers and the waste manager in particular.  But also, there is a need for immediate investigations of waste contractors, who might be in line for termination of contracts if the inevitable blame game ends at their feet.

G4S are identified as one contractor being blamed for these failures, as provider of cleaning services. In the pictures, an SRCL appears prominently though their role may extend no further than uplift and disposal of some, not necessarily all, waste streams.  But this shows quite clearly how failures in one part of the chain can reflect badly on others.

Two other issues of concern spring to mind. Firstly the filth and waste spillage in the basement compactor room.

And what about a waste chute?  That might be an easy way to move non-hazardous waste from one level to another.  However, non-hazardous waste is non-hazardous only by virtual of some bureaucratic notation dreamt up by the Environment Agency, and in fairness before that in the EWC also.  Those wastes will contain micro-0organisms, perhaps troublesome potential pathogens that are liberated to air as waste sacks whizz down the chute and hit the basement with force.

Look at the soiling on the walls and floor, the spilled wastes, and the damaged sacks.  A classic case of out of sight, out of mind perhaps? Certainly in Infection Prevention and Control team have left this problem far out of mind, as they overlook the inevitability of aerosols of dust and micro-organisms billowing out of the waste cute, at every level, carrying not only the bugs of one particular waste sack but of a culture comprising all previous wastes smeared on the walls of the chute and supporting a garden of fungal spores.

And for those with a good eye for detail, what about the fire risk, especially in the picture shown here of a haphazard pile of combustible wastes directly beneath a missing ceiling tile?




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