HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc359-60W
Dr. Murrison

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the definition of clinical and medical waste in the context of special collections by local authorities. [81507]

Mr. Meacher

I have been asked to reply.

Clinical waste is defined in "The Controlled Waste Regulations 1992" as any waste which consists wholly or partly of human or animal tissue, blood or other body fluids, excretions, drugs or other pharmaceutical products, swabs or dressings, or syringes, needles or other sharp instruments, being waste which unless rendered safe may prove hazardous to any person coming into contact with it; and any other waste arising from medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, pharmaceutical or similar practice, investigation, treatment, care, teaching or research, or the collection of blood for transfusion, being waste which may cause infection to any person coming into contact with it.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities are obliged to collect clinical waste generated in the home where the householder asks them to do so. Local authorities may make a charge for these collections. Where someone is receiving healthcare treatment at home, it is the responsibility of the healthcare professional to assess whether waste arising from their illness and treatment poses a risk of infection and should therefore be treated as clinical waste.