Outrage as Fenland residents told they must pay to have sharps bins collected
- Credit: Archant
A petition has been set up against plans to charge Fenland people £8 a time to dispose of sharps bin for needles and clinical waste.
The new system will come into force once GP surgeries and chemists stop taking back clinical waste following a change in NHS policy.
A range of illnesses like diabetes and those with a deep vein thrombosis are among users who will be affected regardless of if they are children or adults or if a family is on benefits.
The decision by FDC to charge came without public consultation, say petition organisers.
The petition says that: “There has been no consultation with residents whatsoever.
“Despite the decision by the NHS, there is no other council in Cambridgeshire that we could find that is now charging for this service.
“Without any advance notice to residents, chemists or health centres, Fenland District Council’s cabinet advised councillors by email in July that they would be charging residents for removal of sharp boxes and clinical waste.
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“They advised councillors that residents will only need a few collections per year. No evidence for this statement has been provided despite frequent requests.
“This decision by FDC to charge residents is against the 2010 Equalities Act.
“Fenland residents did not choose to have health issues. Under the Equality Act 2010 it is illegal for service providers to discriminate against people because of their disability.
“We therefore urge Fenland District Council to reconsider this decision to charge private households for the collection of hygiene and clinical waste.”
A spokesman for Fenland District Council said a fee was introduced for ad-hoc collections of clinical waste as it is the most costly to deal with, at up to 10 times more expensive than domestic waste.
A spokesman said: “It requires a dedicated, well-managed system for handling and disposal.
“Customers who, through their health condition, create a large amount of clinical waste and require ‘frequent’ rather than ‘ad-hoc’ collections of clinical waste, are not required to pay for collections.
“Frequent collections are those set up for a regular collections of clinical waste sacks and sometimes sharps. These collections will predominantly be for those on home dialysis.
“Customers with diabetes are currently able to return their needles to their pharmacy free of charge. The NHS have informed us that this will stop, but they have yet to say when or if options other than their local authority collections will be offered to these customers. “Additionally, where customers are cared for by NHS staff in their own home, then the NHS remains responsible for the removal of any resulting waste.
“If the NHS does not offer an alternative sharps box collection for those affected, the NHS will signpost the patient to their local authority to request the authority collects the box.”
• Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough there are potentially 45,000 people who are currently producing needles and disposing of them through surgeries and pharmacies who the NHS are proposing to sign post away from the current arrangements and to the local authority to collect from their doorstep.