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New policies for medical waste announced

New policy and processes have been announced with regards to the safe and effective management of sharp, biohazardous and pharmaceutical waste in Bermuda.

The Department of Health said the new measures will come into effect on June 1. The new policy will cover the collection, transportation and destruction of such waste.

Historically, the Bermuda Hospitals Board dealt with the disposal of all of the Island's biomedical waste as it had the bio-oxidiser equipment on site, but there was no official regulation regarding how such waste should be managed, nor how it should be transported.

The new policy requires such waste to be transported by the Department of Health.

A government spokeswoman said in a statement: “A Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Health and BHB recognises BHB as the national co-ordinator for the disposal of biomedical and pharmaceutical waste. BHB now uses two macerators/sterilisers, to destroy the Island's biomedical waste, after the bio-oxidiser was decommissioned. BHB has also entered into a commercial shipping agreement that will permit BHB to ship hazardous pharmaceuticals that cannot be placed into the macerators and that will provide a back-up plan and redundancy for the disposal of sharps, biohazardous waste, in the unlikely event the macerators fail.”

The new policy sets out fees for the transport and management of the waste. Community waste generators will need to fill in a consignment form, which will allow quantification of the waste processed.

Jeanne Atherden, the Minister for Health, Seniors and the Environment, said: “It is important to establish a safe and effective system for the collection, transport and disposal of sharps, biohazardous and pharmaceutical waste. It is an area that is heavily regulated in North American and European jurisdictions. Transporting this kind of waste appropriately, and ensuring controls are in place, ensures Bermuda is performing on par with international best practices in this area. It also gives clear direction to biomedical waste generators on how they can dispose of it safely and appropriately”.

A stakeholders meeting will be on May 7 at the Metro Building, 6 Hermitage Road, Devonshire, at 2pm. Community generators of biomedical waste that did not attend a previous meeting in April are asked to attend.

Jeanne Atherden (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published April 22, 2015 at 8:01 pm (Updated April 23, 2015 at 3:23 pm)

New policies for medical waste announced

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