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What do people think about waste in the nhs? is it just rubbish or do we need to think about the wider concepts of waste in the system?
There is so much unecessary waste in the NHS and I think most of it is because people don't know or don't have time to consider alternatives. Just this week, our ECT clinic were throwing away lots of medical equipment such as cannulas and drip giving-sets because they are out of date and cannot be used. Presumably they would go to an expensive incinerator site with other clinical "waste", so I had a think and made several phone calls to animal charities. The PDSA (a vetinary charity) were very happy to take these items as they understood that the use-by dates were only a guide. Although we can't use these items with humans, they can be used safely with animals. I delivered them at the weekend and will do this every time we are about to throw out disposable medical items.
It has made me wonder if there are other alternatives such as an overseas charity that would send the items to disaster areas in need of medical supplies? I suspect that use for humans will not be possible due to the "use-by" dates? Does anyone know?
...then there's the bigger problem of pharmaceutrical waste...but that's a whole new subject
Agree. I think that we in mental health have lots of waste and we can definitely save and do better. For example, the lights in the medication and treatment rooms in most psychiatric units remain switched on 24/7 and I can't see any reason for that.
On the other hand, I wouldn't support sending expired medical appliances to disastered areas as people have already been overwhelmed by their own disasters and wouldn't need an extra one.
yes very interesting points, i've got to say Caroline that thinking of phoning the local vets is genius! i know that trevor payne at barts healthcare has set up an ebay forum for unwanted furniture between london trusts. he says that works pretty well.
regarding loghts being left on hasanen - have you heard of operation TLC - check it out at:
it is amazing what you can save!
Yes, the loacl e-bay thing is really worth setting up. Our Trust covers all of Sussex and we have a local mart (on our intranet) where people can pass on stationary, office furniture or anything they don't need. You can post "wanted" items too. I've had lots of stationary from other units who are closing or re-locating. People can also advertise second-hand stuff from home, offer lift shares or even advertise house sales/rentals. It's becoming very popular as everyone gets to know about it and it certainly gets everyone thinking about re-use of unwanted items. Any Trust with an intranet can set it up - through the IT dept.
Re; the leaving light and heaters on - we have started a scheme where we put large colourful stickers on items such as computers, water heaters etc that remind people to turn them off. Screen savers on the intranet about the same subject can be helpful too. We encourage all our "green champions" to check in their offices every evening before going home.
I am developing a proposal for the Irish Health Service (HSE) to set up a resource exchange for our 100,000 HSE staff nationwide in the Irish Health Service.
So I am very interested to hear that the NHS Barts Trust and NHS Sussex Trust have already set up a similar ebay forums for NHS staff on intranet sites. I would like to find out more about any NHS Trust that has already set up a resource exchange website... My contact details are firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks.
might be interesting for those thinking about setting up local e-bays, to know of our initiative of an online sharing marketplace. For exactly the same reasons you mention: one persons waste can be op use to someone else, a lot of machines and facilities are sitting idle large amounts of time etc., we started a sharingmarketplace in The Netherlands. It allows healthcare organisations to rent out, or sell idle capacity amongst each other. Capacity is used here in the broadest sense of the word: materials and equipment, furniture, facilities such as an OR, MRI, conference rooms, and skills and knowledge of staff. so it's not just about waste, but also about optimizing usage of assets. The platform is already developed and easy to implement in other regions. Would be happy to send anyone additional info if interested. Contact me: email@example.com