Clinical waste

Clinical waste is waste that consists wholly or partly of:

  • human or animal tissue
  • blood or bodily fluids
  • sharp’s, including syringes, needles, finger pricking devices and lancets
  • medicines or other pharmaceutical products
  • swabs or dressings

Commercial clinical waste

The Council’s partner, Suffolk Coastal Norse, provides commercial waste collections for business’s producing clinical and offensive healthcare waste within the Suffolk Coastal area. Contact Suffolk Coastal Norse for more information and a quotation. This service is not currently available from Waveney Norse in the Waveney area, however, other registered service providers are available, details of which would be available online.

Household clinical waste

There are certain types of waste arising from home treatments ie, home dialysis or infectious waste that requires specialist collection and treatment, please contact your District Council for advice.

Incontinence waste (nappies and soiled pads), colostomy and stoma bags do not need specialist collection and should be double-bagged and placed in your residual wheeled bin for normal collection.

Sharps and needles should never be placed in any wheeled bin and should always be securely contained (in a sharps container) for removal by your healthcare provider or returned to your health care Centre. Collection by the District Council can be arranged, but may be subject to a charge.

Reporting discarded Needles and Syringes on public land

If you find discarded needles or syringes in a public place, do not touch them to avoid injury, but contact Norse to inform the Customer services team who will arrange the safe removal using the appropriate equipment.

The Norse Team will aim to remove them within one working day of it being reported.

Find out more about clinical waste by visiting the GOV.UK website.

Changes to the collection of Medical Sharps from October 1st 2019

In February 2018, NHS England informally instructed the Council that it intended to make changes to the waste contracts that governed the collection of medical sharps (needles and syringes) from community pharmacies.

In short, returned sharps would no longer be accepted at community pharmacies or GP surgeries from patients who self-medicate (e.g. diabetics self-medicating with insulin). A formal letter outlining this change was received in August 2018.

Historically sharps from self-medicating households have been accepted at pharmacies and therefore the Suffolk local authorities have had little or no need to do so.

Local Authorities have no obligation to collect sharps generated at a GP surgery or Pharmacy, nor from households where medication is administered by a health care professional.

However, we do have any responsibility to provide a collection service for those patients who produce sharps via home use.

The council identified the following 3 likely impacts of the proposed changes:

  • Increased costs to the taxpayer
  • Confusion for the householder
  • Increased health and safety concerns (e.g. chaotic disposal and a greater risk of needlestick injury to waste collection and MRF operatives)

As a result, the Chair of the SWP wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and the Chief Executive of the NHS outlining our concerns. Whilst a response was received from the NHS merely restating their position, no formal response has been received to date from the Minister nor the Department of Health and Social Care. Our letters were also shared with other Local Authorities and Local Authority bodies (i.e. Local Government Association).

Clearly, however, the council is required to meet it’s obligation to provide a collection facility. To enable us to meet this obligation, we have partnered with a network of pharmacies across East Suffolk, who will act as a collection point for medical sharps.

Framlingham Pharmacy
32 Market Hill
IP13 9AY
Wickham Market Pharmacy
Unit 2, White Hart Court
Wickham Market
IP13 0RA
Saxmundham Pharmacy
High Street
IP17 1DF
Beccles HCC Ltd
Beccles & District War Memorial
NR34 9NQ
Boots Pharmacy
31 Orwell Road
IP11 7DD
Boots Pharmacy
28 St John's Road
NR35 1LP
Boots Pharmacy
26 Market Place
IP19 8AY
Boots Pharmacy
2-4 Stradbroke Road
Pakefield, Lowestoft
NR33 7HT
Boots Pharmacy
58 Thoroughfare
IP12 1AL
Boots Pharmacy
120 St Peter's Street
NR32 1UD
Aldeburgh Pharmacy
125 High Street
IP15 5AR

From 1st October, residents should bring their sharps boxes to a participating pharmacy and these will be collected by East Suffolk Council and disposed of securely.