Ashfield District Council dump clinical waste collections

A SERIOUSLY ill Kirkby woman has hit out at Ashfield District Council after they stopped her clinical waste collection service.

Forty-three-year-old Joanne Clarke, of Seagrave Avenue, spends nine hours on a dialysis machine every night because she suffers from kidney failure.

Over the last five years the waste from the machine has been collected by the district council every week without fail - but from this week it must go in her household waste bin along with kitchen waste and non-recyclable material.

Up to 220 folk in Ashfield could be affected by the decision to reclassify certain clinical waste as safe to throw away in the general waste bin.

Said Joanne, who has been given an extra black bin for her additional waste:

“As you will understand the waste is what most people would class as bodily fluid, which I am sure anybody other than the person who it belongs to would not really like to come in contact with.

“We are to place the same bags into our normal black bins, along with the normal two week rubbish that we already have - how?”

“I have contacted the council twice, no help whatsoever. I am not asking for the earth but why should this service have to stop. Yes, I know that the council is having to keep a tight hold of the purse strings, as we all do.”

Edd deCoverly, Ashfield District Council service director for environment, said the decision to alter the council’s clinical waste collection service was carried out in response to a review undertaken in conjunction with Nottinghamshire County Council.

“This review included changes to where certain types of waste can be disposed of – including some types of clinical waste which can safely go into the household waste stream, rather than being collected separately as they are at present.

“This separate clinical waste collection service is currently used by around 220 people in Ashfield, all of whom received letters and/or personal visits from Council officers about the changes to the service.

“The new approach will ensure that waste is collected in the most appropriate manner in the future and we reassure the public that the council deals with all its waste legally and safely.”

Coun Richard Butler, Nottinghamshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment and sustainability said:

“We, along with other councils, have a legal duty to ensure waste is correctly and safely disposed of.”

“Periodic reviews of all users of the health care waste service are carried with our partners, including the area’s NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCT) and district and borough councils, who are responsible for collection of waste.

“Over a period of almost 12 months every resident of the county receiving a healthcare waste collection was contacted, and asked to return an assessment questionnaire which had to be completed and signed by a healthcare professional. Of the forms completed around 20 per cent were identified as being infectious and 80 per cent non-infectious.

“It’s then up to the districts to decide, based on those numbers, how they deal with the non-infectious waste — with most nowadays deciding to incorporate it into their existing general waste collection scheme rather than collect the non-infectious waste separately.

“Those patients who have been diagnosed as still producing infectious healthcare waste will continue to receive a separate healthcare collection.”

A spokesman for Mansfield District Council said a similar review of infectious and non-infectious waste collection had been carried out and the council would act accordingly.