latest health care news


Waste firm seeks £15m in damages over terminated NHS contracts

The disposal company at the centre of the NHS clinical waste scandal has announced that it is suing 17 NHS trusts in Yorkshire after they terminated its contracts.

Healthcare Environment Services (HES) are pursuing upwards of £15m in damages from the trusts it says unlawfully terminated its contracts in response to reports that tonnes of clinical waste piled up at its sites.

The Environment Agency has launched a criminal investigation into the company, but HES’s managing director claimed that they had been “vilified” and denied suggestions it had mismanaged its services.

HES became embroiled in a clinical waste controversy after it was found to be storing waste, including human body parts, over five times their permit level, and was breaching its permit at four of its six England sites which deal with clinical waste.

When this came to light, HES was stripped of 15 NHS contracts, and health minister Stephen Barclay told parliament that NHS Improvement had concluded that HES had “failed to demonstrate that they were operating within their contractual limits.”

Garry Pettigrew, the managing director of HES, defended his company from claims of mismanagement and said they had been “vilified for providing an excellent service.”

He said that the pile-ups were due to a “major drop” in incinerator capacity since 2015 and has now said: "We feel that we have been left with no choice but to take legal action against the trusts after the terms of the agreed contracts were broken.”

The government rejected Pettigrew’s claims regarding incinerator capacity and questioned whether the company was willing to pay for the extra capacity to meet deadlines.

Outsourcing company Mitie has stepped in to take over the contracts, and had secured 1,000 tonnes of capacity according to the government, refuting Pettigrew’s claims.

HES still has contracts with more than 30 other trusts in England, and maintains all its Scotland contracts.

 Image credit - Lucinda Cameron/PA Wire/PA Images

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Data: the oil of the digital age

07/11/2018Data: the oil of the digital age

Adam Steventon, director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, review... more >
The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

10/10/2018The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

Jo Gander, director of the Clinical and Product Assurance (CaPA) team, talk... more >


How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

More men please!

14/11/2018More men please!

Kirstie Stott, director of the Inspiring Leaders Network, flips the gender balance debate on its head and asks: why aren’t there more male nurses? As an advocate fo... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar


November 2018

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >