ANGRY home-treatment patients have been left with bags of dangerous clinical waste piling up in their homes after a specialist collection contract was suddenly cancelled.

Items including needles and tubes contaminated with blood and soiled bandages and pads are amongst the by-products which are involved.


The decision to stop the contract, taken on the orders of London-based NHS England, shocked medical supervisors, local councils and MPs.

NHS England has now promised to investigate after being contacted by the Lancashire Telegraph.

The mainly kidney dialysis patients were unaware of the decision until by-products of their therapy were not picked up in the New Year.

The move has outraged doctors and patients often unable to dispose of the waste which is banned from domestic rubbish collection.

MPs Graham Jones, Gordon Birtwistle and Jack Straw have written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanding he sort out the mess, branded a health risk by Lancashire Telegraph doctor Tom Smith.

Karen Coupe, of Clayton-le-Moors, whose daughter Sarah’s home haemodialysis for kidney disease produces plastic tubes and needles contaminated with blood, said: “I am furious and distressed.

“I have 30 bags of clinical waste I can’t get rid of.

“We were given no warning of this before it happened at Christmas.

“The first I knew about it was when it was not picked up in January and I rang the Royal Preston Hospital care team who knew nothing about it and were angry and upset.”

Her GP Robert Grayson said: “This is unforgivable and I am deeply concerned.

“We have offered to dispose of it for her, but in the long-term this is not an option.”

For years PHS Waste Management collected clinical waste from 20 patients spread across six boroughs: Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, Burnley and Rossendale.

The contract was managed by the NHS Property Services office in Accrington, which in October was ordered to cancel it by NHS England.

Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Ribble Valley have no existing service to collect clinical waste and no intention or cash to develop one.

Pendle and Burnley council’s, which collect some clinical waste, have been forced to hastily re-jig rounds to cover the shortfall.

Burnley resident Robert Meadows, whose wife Rose is a haemodialysis patient, had to make hasty arrangements with the council to collect 18 bags of clinical waste.

He said: “I am angry and upset. This was a disgraceful way to do it.

“It came out of the blue to us, the Royal Preston hospital and Burnley Council.”

Fred Jones, a 70-year-old home kidney dialysis patient, a former Burnley resident living in Oswaldtwistle, said: “This is outrageous.

“I am angry and concerned, especially for other patients who need haemodialysis who have an even bigger problem than I have, “It should not have been done this way.”

Russ MacLean, chairman of Pennine Lancashire Patients’ Voice, said: “I am very unhappy and angry.

“It is the right hand of the NHS not knowing what the left is doing and patients suffering. I shall be contacting NHS England.”

Dr Smith said: “This is clinical waste which could carry infectious diseases including hepatitis.

“This is an NHS and not a council responsibility.

“This could affect diabetics and others who inject and those with chronic illnesses who use incontinence pads or have waste to dispose of.”

Hyndburn MP Mr Jones said: “This another example of the fragmentation of the NHS and an unnecessary burden patients and families to face.”

Blackburn MP Mr Straw said: “It looks to me like someone has made a mistake which needs to be sorted out.”

Burnley MP Mr Birtwistle said: “Something has gone wrong and this is a decision with dangerous implications “ Blackburn with Darwen environment boss Jim Smith said: “We don’t collect clinical waste from homes and have no money to do so. That is an NHS responsibility.”

A spokesperson for NHS England said: “NHS England currently commissions dialysis services across the North West. However we do not commission services for the collection of dialysis waste and understand that this is usually a local council issue.

“We are currently liaising with the responsible renal centre, NHS Property Services, local council and the CGG and will be investigating the issue further during the next few days to ensure prompt resolution of this situation.”

A spokesperson for NHS Property Services said: “NHS England advised us that clinical waste was the responsibility of the local authority and all partners were made aware of this.

“We are concerned there has been a problem.”

A spokesperson from the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The responsibility for commissioning these services is with NHS England.”