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UK medical waste firm dropped after body parts 'pile up'

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

London, United Kingdomn | Wed, October 10, 2018 | 09:09 am
UK medical waste firm dropped after body parts 'pile up' A sewage worker uniform is seen on display at the Fatberg exhibition at the Museum of London, in central London, on February 8, 2018. The only remaining piece of the 'monster' fatberg, a congealed lump of fat, sanitary napkins, wet wipes, condoms, diapers and similar items found in a sewer in Whitechapel, East London, last September is on display at the museum of London. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

A British waste disposal firm has been stripped of its hospital contracts after allowing medical waste to build up, including human body parts, the government said Tuesday.

Healthcare Environment Services (HES) lost contracts with 15 regional bodies within the state-run National Health Service (NHS), health minister Stephen Barclay said.

"While the waste was stored securely, it was not being processed and disposed of within the correct regulatory timescales," he said in a written statement to parliament. 

Opposition Labour lawmaker Jonathan Ashworth said the backlog involved "350 tonnes of waste, including human body parts, amputated limbs, infectious fluid".

He told MPs it was "left effectively stockpiled" and was "an absolute scandal".

Barclay insisted "that just 1.1 percent of this clinical waste is anatomical", adding: "At no point has there been an impact on public health."

HES managing director Garry Pettigrew said most of the backlog was plastic and denied any "stockpiling" of body parts.

"All anatomical waste is disposed of safely and there are no body parts 'stockpiled' at any of our sites, as some reports have alleged," he said.

He added that there was a lack of incineration capacity in Britain and the "excessive" decision to terminate its contracts would only make this worse.

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