Clinical Waste Firm To Sue Health Trusts Over Terminated Contracts

Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) is seeking “upwards of £15m” in damages following the termination of contracts to deal with the clinical waste of 17 health trusts, according to BBC News.

The North Lanarkshire-based firm came under the media spotlight in October following reports obtained by The Health Service Journal (HSJ) that show “amputated limbs and pharmaceutical waste” were among a backlog of clinical waste not processed and disposed of within the correct regulatory timeframes.

As a result a criminal investigation was launched along with a clear up operation, the Environment Agency (EA) said, which took enforcement action against HES.

The EA said HES was in breach of its environmental permits at four of its six sites which deal with clinical waste.

HES managing director Garry Pettigrew – “Our contracts were terminated without first discussing any performance issues with the company and we were given no opportunity to fulfil our obligations.”

At the time, a statement by HES suggested the company put the backlog down to a reduction in incinerator capacity. The EA rebuffed this, saying “There is industry wide agreement that overall there is sufficient incineration capacity.”

According to BBC News, managing director Garry Pettigrew 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.

“Our contracts were terminated without first discussing any performance issues with the company and we were given no opportunity to fulfil our obligations.

“We are now taking this action to safeguard the company and our employees’ future, and to give us an opportunity to correct some of the misinformation that has been reported in the media.”

The company has retained its NHS contracts in Scotland and contracts with more than 30 other trusts in England are still ongoing.


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