Highlands & Islands

Extra workers handling Raigmore Hospital clinical waste

Raigmore Hospital
Image caption The GMB union has advised its members not to take on clinical waste work from Friday morning

NHS Highland has introduced "extra measures" to help porters at Inverness' Raigmore Hospital in their handling of clinical waste.

The staff have had a greater role in dealing with the material following the collapse of a waste handling firm.

Last week, the GMB union advised its members to stop handling it after four porters were injured.

The union said it was "cautiously optimistic" after two new workers were allocated to the role.

The staff's greater role in dealing with clinical waste followed a Scotland-wide contingency plan put in place after the collapse of clinical waste firm Healthcare Environmental Services.

NHS Highland said the porters' roles had been risk-assessed and protective equipment had been supplied.

But the GMB claimed there was a lack of such equipment, and complained of inadequate consultation about additional workload.

Last week, the union advised its members to not to undertake additional clinical waste tasks.

According to NHS Highland, porters continued to work as normal.

A spokeswoman for the health board said: "Following further discussion with staff extra measures have been put in place from yesterday.

"This has involved taking in two external members of staff to handle the movement of clinical waste from the waste area to the container.

"These staff will be on site Monday to Friday with one available over the weekend. Additional waste bins have also been brought on to the site."

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