Fight is still on to stop charges for disposal of sharp boxes in Fenland
- Credit: Archant
A councillor is continuing her fight to stop 8,000 diabetics across Fenland from being charged for disposal of needles.
Councillor Virginia Bucknor wants many more signatures to add to the 600 she and her fellow supporters have already gathered to get the proposals ditched.
Fenland Council said today they have asked health authorities to delay their plans to stop taking clinical waste until next year to enable alternatives to be put in place.
The council says it is also liaising with local pharmacy association representatives and the NHS to see if existing collection points for sharps collections can be maintained.
Last month outraged residents launched the petition after Fenland Council revealed it planned to charge £8 for the collection of clinical waste and sharps boxes.
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That proposal has been temporarily put on hold but Fenland Council still wants a longer term solution as it says it would cost them an estimated £130,000 a year if half of the registered diabetics in Fenland were to receive clinical collections four times a year.
The move comes as the NHS told local authorities they would no longer take back clinical waste at dispensaries and clinics.
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Cllr Bucknor is urging residents to sign the petition, calling the situation “illogical”.
“This is still terrible and it is clear that the council have not done their research into this at all,” she said.
“They have not thought of a sensible solution, it is nonsensical and illogical.
“No other council is to take this up so I cannot understand the logic that Fenland has to think it would be acceptable.
“It affects all age groups and is an issue that has not been discussed with councillors at all.
“There has been stupid thinking behind this.”
Fenland District Council says that waste authorities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (The Recap Partnership) have met with the NHS and asked them to delay their plans to stop taking clinical waste until next year. The council says this would allow “for sensible alternative solutions to be put in place for customers, such as community collection points”.
A council spokesman said they and the other Recap authorities are also liaising with local pharmacy association representatives and NHS England to see if the existing community collection points for sharps collections can be maintained.
“As a result of the current options open to customers the council has such small numbers of customers who could request a clinical collection that the costs are manageable.
“However, should the NHS turn customers away from existing arrangements then this could place a large burden on the authority and create thousands of additional specialist waste collections from doorstep that are currently not taking place.
“The NHS informs us that they will continue to provide clinical waste collections from pharmacies, but these collections will no longer include returned sharps boxes from next year.
“We are informed that across Cambridgeshire alone there are 45,000 registered diabetics along with other customers who administer their own medicines at home.”