Says Dan Gurney, facilities business manager for the Trust: “It is well documented that 40 percent of the clinical waste disposed of by hospitals should actually be in the general waste. The cost of clinical waste disposal for us is between £335 and £700 per tonne depending on its exact classification. The cost of general waste disposal is about £100 per tonne.
“Although clinical waste is about one third of our total volume, it accounts for two thirds of our waste disposal budget, so it is an obvious area where we can make efficiency savings.”
The trust has installed three floor mounted scale stations, one at each of its three hospitals’ waste collection sites. Each scale has an E1210 indicator controlling the scale and links to a central network on which Avery Weigh-Tronix has installed its M725 Data Power management software.
When waste is disposed the system prompts an operator for their identification, the department or source of waste, the type of waste and the bin or trolley identity. The hospital’s head office can then monitor and report on the data to track trends and identify areas for improvement. Reports can show individual waste streams by cost, location and department.
Says Gurney: “The information is vital in this efficiency drive. We can use it to cross check the charges made to us by our waste disposal contractors and pinpoint any areas that require further investigation.
“It helps us to take targeted action where it is needed. For example, we may need to emphasise the importance of proper waste disposal in a department through an educational campaign.
“Sometimes there is a good reason for producing extra waste. It may be that a department is dealing with more patients. If this is the case, then we can apply for extra funding to dispose of any additional clinical waste.
“It is only by having such an accurate reporting system that we can make informed choices and become more efficient. Making savings will divert funds to frontline medical care, which supports the aim of the government’s White Paper.”