Thousands of sharp boxes to be collected from new disposal points in just 17 pharmacies across East Cambridgeshire
PUBLISHED: 13:08 21 January 2019
Danny Loo Photography 2016
More than 4,000 sharp boxes will need to be picked up from just 17 pharmacies across East Cambridgeshire when new legislation comes in place this April.
Around 2,500 people in the district who use sharp boxes for needles and clinical waste will need to take them to new collection points for disposal from April 1.
It comes as NHS England announced it would no longer arrange collection of returned sharps boxes from pharmacies and instead the responsibility would pass to East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC).
Residents with a range of illnesses such as diabetes and deep vein thrombosis are among users who will be affected by the change.
However, those who are disabled and unable to visit a collection point will need to provide a doctor’s note and ECDC will continue to provide a free household sharps collection quarterly.
The collection service recently changed from a monthly sharps collection to a quarterly collection for 72 users, with external contractor Novus carrying it out behalf of the council.
It costs £6.10 per collection to the authority, with yearly costs totalling £1757 for sharps and £2538 for infectious clinical waste sacks.
In a report by Hetty Thornton to the regulatory services committee, it estimates that there are 4638 patients over the age of 17 in East Cambridgeshire with diabetes.
“As the majority of residents across the district already use pharmacies as drop-off points the changeover will be seamless,” Ms Thornton writes.
The report recommends that the collection boxes will be picked up from community pharmacies and GP dispensing pharmacies from April 1.
This would see an annual cost of providing an outsourced fortnightly clinical waste collection coming in at just over £20,000.
A second option was also proposed, which would have seen ECDC buy a new vehicle with a tail lift to collect sharps from pharmacies – costing more than £30,000 for initial setup in the first year.
When changes commence the next pick up for boxes would be in June.
A meeting of the regulatory services committee today discussed the changes.
Here’s the list of the 17 pharmacies:
Boots, Market Street, Ely
Lloyds, Princess of Wales Hospital
Staploe Pharmacy, Soham
Bottisham Medical Practice
Priory Fields Surgery, Sutton
St Mary’s Pharmacy, Ely