November 7, 2018 2.45 pm This story is over 36 months old

Human waste backlog firm to sue hospitals trust

The firm said it has no other choice

The waste company involved in a human body parts backlog scandal from UK hospitals has said it intends to sue Grimsby and Scunthorpe’s health trust for terminating its contract.

Healthcare Environmental Services is set to take legal action against 17 health authorities seeking damages of “upwards of £15 million”.

The firm is set to sue trusts across the Yorkshire and Humber region, which includes Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust (NLaG).

It comes after it was revealed that the company had a stockpile of clinical waste including amputated limbs, infectious liquids and cytotoxic waste linked to cancer treatment at its UK sites.

NLaG has since terminated its contract with the firm and appointed Veolia UK to provide the service.

Dr Peter Reading, chief executive of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust.

Chief executive of the trust, Dr Peter Reading, assured patients that the move had been managed “completely safely”.

But HES have said their contract was ended “unlawfully” and will now take legal action.

Garry Pettigrew, managing director at the firm, said: “We feel that we have been left with no choice but to take legal action against the trusts after the terms of the agreed contracts were broken.

“Our contracts were terminated without first discussing any performance issues with the company and we were given no opportunity to fulfil our obligations.

“We are now taking this action to safeguard the company and our employees’ future, and to give us an opportunity to correct some of the misinformation that has been reported in the media.”

Healthcare Environmental Services depot in Shotts, Lanarkshire.

Jug Johal, director of estates and facilities at NLaG, confirmed the trust had received a letter from HES and was “currently looking at the points it raises”.

A criminal investigation was launched into the firm in October following the scandal – this is still ongoing.

The company blamed the backlog on a lack of high-temperature incinerators and said they had highlighted the issue.

Health Minister, Stephen Barclay MP, told Parliament that the Environment Agency had launched an investigation into HES.

NLaG was one of many health authorities which relied on the company for its waste disposal.

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