Used PPE dumped on verges near Stevenage’s Lister Hospital could spread coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 14:58 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:59 01 May 2020

Sharon Hanrahan says she collected used PPE - which could be contaminated with coronavirus - from verges close to Stevenage's Lister Hospital until she ran out of bags. Picture: Sharon Hanrahan

Sharon Hanrahan says she collected used PPE - which could be contaminated with coronavirus - from verges close to Stevenage's Lister Hospital until she ran out of bags. Picture: Sharon Hanrahan

Archant

Used personal protective equipment – which could be contaminated with coronavirus – is being dumped on grass verges close to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.

PPE includes masks, gloves, aprons and eye protection, with almost all of it intended for single use in order to avoid cross contamination.

A spokesman for the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust – which runs Lister – says it is not the hospital’s staff who are responsible for ditching used PPE at the roadside, which could ultimately cost lives.

Sharon Hanrahan, who lives in Stevenage, spotted the hazardous litter and did her best to clear the area as much as possible.

She said: “This is shocking! I collected five masks, as well as numerous wipes and gloves - all found on the verges on Great North Road, as you drive away from Lister Hospital towards Graveley. There was more, but I ran out of bags.

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“As I drove towards Sainsbury’s I made a point of looking at verges either side of the road. Both sides were littered with gloves, masks and wipes. What’s going on? These should be in clinical waste bins, or bagged and disposed of properly. It’s very worrying and I was just shocked at the amount.”

Another concerned resident pointed out that the perpetrators are “not just litterbugs”. She said: “It’s dangerous, as you could catch Covid-19 from these gloves or masks if they are infected.”

A spokesman for the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said: “Our staff follow strict guidelines for the disposal of clinical waste, which includes personal protective equipment.

“We have seen an increase of people arriving at hospital with PPE and we recommend disposing of any masks or gloves appropriately on leaving the hospital, as this will help reduce the spread of Covid-19.”

A spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council added: “We’ve had one report of PPE being littered along Coreys Mill Lane.

“We all have a role to play in keeping Stevenage clean and reducing the spread of coronavirus. If residents have any PPE gloves and masks they need to dispose of, these should be placed in a separate bag and then put in a waste bin.

“If anyone has symptoms of coronavirus, the PPE should be set aside for 72 hours then put in their general waste bin.”


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