Service Reconfiguration

10.01.19

Body parts and toxic waste still piled up at abandoned medical base

The state of the abandoned medical base of the disposal firm at the centre of the NHS waste stockpiling scandal has been revealed, with body parts and clinical waste remaining piled up and untreated on the site since it stopped trading in December.

Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) ceased operations last month after it was stripped of its NHS contracts, leaving the firm’s Benton headquarters in Newcastle disused.

A former Newcastle-based employee took photos over the course of several months which show tonnes of clinical, pharmaceutical, and surgical waste still locked up at HES’s base.

Staff told Chronicle Live that fridges are still packed with human remains from surgical training, including heads, torsos, arms and legs, and pallets were stacked on top of one another with waste collected over several months.


The Environmental Agency (EA) launched a criminal investigation after the company was found to be storing human body parts five times over their permitted limit, with this major breach of its permit leading to HES being stripped of 15 of its NHS contracts.

The managing director of HES, Garry Pettigrew, claimed at the time that his company had been “vilified for providing an excellent service” and blames a UK-wide shortage of high-temperature incineration facilities for the issues that led to the failures, a claim which the government has denied.

Workers were not paid their most recent wages, and last week HES confirmed that it had ceased its operations fully after making 400 staff redundant – although the company had no money to pay for the redundancies.

The former employee said the Benton site had not been cleared since the firm’s collapse and remains full of clinical pharmaceutical and surgical waste – some of which is deemed highly infectious and toxic.

The centre’s fridge contains 770-litre bins, with an estimated 60 bins worth of clinical waste still “lying around,” with the employee even claiming that flies were being attracted to the rotting waste.

The EA said HES remained in breach of its environmental permits at the base and clinical waste treatment and transfer station. It commented: “We have taken a range of action against the company but it has repeatedly breached permits and continued to operate unlawfully.

“As a result, in addition to our enforcement activity to clear the sites, we are undertaking a criminal investigation.

Image credit - Lucinda Cameron

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >

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 th... read more >

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 bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Mid Yorks Hospitals NHS Trust: Our improvement journey

28/05/2019Mid Yorks Hospitals NHS Trust: Our improvement journey

Chief executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Martin Barkley, writes for NHE to guide us through his trust’s improvement journey. It’s arguably a hackneyed phrase in the NHS, but Mid Yorkshire really has been on a significant journey in the last few years. Dogged by a previously problematic reputation, I believe th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >
Pay and reward in the NHS needs to be taken seriously

10/06/2019Pay and reward in the NHS needs to be taken seriously

Ben Gershlick, senior economics analyst at the Health Foundation, examines the new pay deal for NHS staff.  More than £50bn is sp... more >

interviews

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 surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

health service focus

View all News