Medical waste backlog: 'It's part of the work of the NHS that none of us ever think of' says former NHS Trust chairman

Surgeon

Friday, October 5, 2018

Former chairman of the NHS Trust, Roy Lilley, has admitted the pile-up of medical waste is "disturbing", but is just "a part of the work of the NHS that none of us ever think of".

Hundreds of tonnes of medical waste, including human body parts, have been stockpiled by a waste management company contracted by the NHS. 

In an interview with Richard Madeley on the breakfast show, Mr Lilley said he was "not worried" about the pile-up, despite a COBRA meeting being called last month to discuss the issue.

"We think of the NHS in terms of machines that go beeb, and bonny babies, and smiley nurses, but it does have a darker side. Bits that are cut off and cut out have got to be disposed of somewhere," Mr Lilley said.

"It's a part of the work of the NHS that none of us ever think of.

"In the short term what will happen is that refrigerated trailers will be made available by the government.

"If there was a national disaster, these trailers can be brought out to store bodies. I'm getting very sinister now but that's part of national COBRA planning. So these trailers will be parked somewhere securely and the waste will be stored safely until such time as they can dispose of it in the normal way."

 

'You get what you pay for'

Mr Lilley revealed that the company responsible for the toxic waste backlog is the only contractor in place to carry out the work.

"If the environmental health people take away this company's license to do this work, then the NHS is really stuck because there's only one contractor. They're now desperately trying to clear the backlog to keep the company going so the NHS can keep going," he said.

"We all know the NHS has had flatline funding since 2010. It's got no money, it's surviving on pictures of money and the vapour smell of money. It's skint.

"The prices have been driven to the bottom and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that you get what you pay for. 

"You do risk these companies being very flaky at the edge."