Nurses to transfer clinical waste in back of their cars
Nurses will be made to
transport waste like this in boxes in their cars
Community nurses in the Canterbury district have been
ordered to transport clinical waste in the back of their cars –
sparking fears of infection.
NHS bosses want them to put dirty swabs, plasters, gloves and
dressings in special airtight containers and take them back to
health centres for destruction.
It would put an end to patients keeping clinical waste in their
homes and having it removed by a special service.
But the move has led to claims the new process will increase the
risk of spreading dangerous infections in Canterbury, Herne Bay and
Stuart Alexander knows people working as district nurses and
says many are fearful of the new system.
The retired 59-year-old said: "Infections such as MRSA,
clostridium difficile and general urinary tract infections are
difficult to control within the confines of hospitals.
The Canterbury Health
"What chance is there of doing this when they are being
transported around the area in public?
"This is something that has been brewing for about 18 months,
but many nurses thought it had died a death because there was so
much opposition to it. It looks like it's reared its ugly head
"The vehicles that the Trust expects this to be done in are
nurses' family cars and as such, are used by their partners and
"The chances of these children becoming ill and being carriers
of one or more of these infections is totally unacceptable.
mind, the ease and speed these infections spread, how long would it
be before a school becomes a centre for infection?"
The Kent Community Health NHS Trust, which oversees the work of
district nurses, denies there are health risks involved in
disposing of clinical waste in the new system.
Karen Proctor, its director of nursing and quality, said: "Like
many trusts across the country, we have reminded our community
nurses of our duty to bring clinical waste back to one of our bases
"This is something the vast majority of nurses have been doing
for many years. We are also following established guidance by trade
unions, such as the Royal College of Nursing.
"To ensure the safety of our staff, they will all be provided
with airtight containers for carrying clinical waste, like
plasters, dressings and bandages, for the boots of their cars.
"Staff who do not wish to use their own cars can join our lease
"We take the welfare of our staff extremely seriously and there
is no evidence to suggest they are at an increased risk from
transporting waste in this way, which has been common practice
across the country for years."
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