Health Minister Stephen Barclay has confirmed that Mitie will “step in and replace” the service provided by Healthcare Environmental Services to some NHS trusts in England.
The move comes after clinical waste from some trusts was allowed to stockpile at Healthcare Environmental’s sites, which the company said was because of a lack of incineration capacity.
Speaking to MPs earlier today, Mr Barclay confirmed that the regulator, NHS Improvement, issued a letter to the company to advise them of its concerns. And, as legally obliged, gave it time to set out how it plans to rectify the situation.
However, according to the statement, the response failed to demonstrate how it would do so.
“To give HES an opportunity to set out how it was complying with its legal and contractual obligations, NHSI gave HES 48 hours to provide evidence that they were operating within legal and contractual parameters and set out a number of threshold levels,” the minister said.
Mr Barclay added: “NHSI concluded that HES failed to demonstrate that they were operating within their contractual limits. Consequently, 15 NHS Trusts served termination notices to HES formally to terminate their contracts at 4pm on Sunday 7 October.”
Mr Barclay further outlined that in parallel, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Cabinet Office, NHS Improvement and the affected Trusts have “negotiated a new contract with Mitie to step in and replace this service”.
This contract was enacted, following the termination of the contract with HES, and Mitie have been fully operational across all affected Trust sites from Monday morning, he also confirmed.
As for the Environment Agency’s actions, Mr Barclay explained the Agency has partially suspended Healthcare Environmental’s permit at Normanton and will now help to bring it back into compliance.
He said: “The Environment Agency are also progressing with enforcement action at the other non-compliant sites. This includes following up the first enforcement notice for the HES Newcastle site.
“If the site does not become compliant, the likely next stage is a partial suspension to prevent the acceptance of incinerator only waste at Newcastle. It is the company’s responsibility to clear its sites and operate legally.”
He concluded by saying that there will be no impact on NHS trust or public health.
For the full statement, see HERE.
When contacted by letsrecycle.com, a spokesperson for MITIE said:
“Mitie is an expert in removing and minimising specialist waste, and has worked extensively with the NHS in the past. Our focus is on mobilising quickly to support affected Trusts and ensure these hospitals can continue providing vital services for their patients.”