News ID: 252927
Published: 0859 GMT May 17, 2019

NHS waste deal shows climate emergency in Scotland is ‘gimmick’, Tory insists

NHS waste deal shows climate emergency in Scotland is ‘gimmick’, Tory insists

Hospital waste is being sent from Scotland to Wales for disposal, following the collapse of scandal hit firm Healthcare Environmental Services (HES).

Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed that ‘yellow bag’ waste from hospitals, containing sharp materials such as syringes, is being sent to Wrexham in North Wales, wrote.

The deal with disposal firm Tradebe will also see ‘orange bag’ waste, which includes items contaminated with bodily fluids, being sent there until a disposal plant at Bellshill becomes operational.

Freeman confirmed the arrangements in answer to questions from Tory Central Scotland MSP Graham Simpson.

Conservatives claimed the arrangements, put in place after Lanarkshire based HES ceased trading in December, exposed Scottish government hypocrisy on the issue of climate change.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon used her conference speech in April to declare a climate emergency — but Simpson insisted that was a ‘gimmick’.

The Conservative said: “No sooner had Sturgeon announced a climate emergency than her government confirms plans to send clinical waste 250 miles away.

“That has an obvious negative impact on the environment, yet her Scottish National Party (SNP) administration presses ahead with it anyway.”

He added: “It exposes the climate emergency as a gimmick —   it was clearly something thought up on the hoof which she will now live to regret.

“People will see this decision and wonder why Scotland under the SNP isn’t capable of disposing of its own medical waste.

“Instead of making unconvincing statements about saving the planet, the nationalists would be better finding ways to safely dispose of all our clinical waste here, in a way that helps the economy and protects the environment.”

HES, which entered liquidation last month, had removed waste from every hospital, GP surgery, dental practice and pharmacy in Scotland, as well as a number of UK National Health service “NHS” trusts in England.

But it stopped collections in early December after too much waste, including human body parts, built up at its sites.

Earlier this month it emerged contractors are charging more than £460,000 per week to dispose of the hazardous materials in Scotland following the demise of HES.

That is more than double the amount former HES boss Garry Pettigrew had claimed his company charged, saying the maximum annual bill was £11 million, which is around £211,500 per week.

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