Is it business as usual for patients who drop used sharps bins to doctors and pharmacies in Fenland?
PUBLISHED: 16:20 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:20 05 December 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2016
Campaigners are celebrating after a council U-turn which means people can continue dropping used sharps bins at GP surgeries and pharmacies.
Earlier this year, NHS England announced it would no longer arrange collection of returned sharps boxes, instead the responsibility would pass to Fenland District Council.
In the summer, FDC suggested hiring a professional contractor to collect sharps bins from people’s homes on a “man with a van” basis, said Councillor Ginny Bucknor, who joined Sue Marshall in a petition against the idea.
She said: “Thankfully it looks like it will be business as usual for patients to keep dropping their used syringes to doctors and pharmacies.
“This has worked for years, why change it. This a great victory for campaigners.”
In Fenland there were 7,138 sharps containers prescribed by doctors in 2017/18.
A meeting of the council’s full cabinet on Thursday 13 is set to recommend that the council fund free sharps bins drop off points in local pharmacies at a cost to FDC of around £18,000.
Also free collection points in dispensing GP practices at a cost of £2,000.
The Council also plan to charge £8 a time for clinical waste collections.
Cllr Bucknor said: “We are concerned that there are plans to charge £8 for clinical waste collections. The people who need this are some of the most vulnerable in our community, old and very sick people.
“There are plans to waive the charge for those in hardship or who have regular or large collections, but even if you are 5p over the financial threshold, those people will be charged. It is unfair to have to pay.
“We also need clarification of where the 200 registered drug users in Fenland will dispose of their sharps bins.”
According to the agenda, to be discussed at cabinet next week, there are around 100 people in Fenland who are cared for in their own home, who produce non infectious waste. These people are provided with an additional wheelie bin.
A spokesman for Diabetes UK Eastern England said: ”Although local authorities are permitted to charge for collecting clinical waste from domestic properties, we encourage them not to do so.
“This may be prohibitively expensive for many people with diabetes and discourage them from using the collection service.”