Recycling, Infection Control and Decontamination
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) places a number of duties on employers and employees concerning the requirements of safe working practices. Furthermore, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)36 place a statutory duty of co-operation between employer and employee to provide each other with clear communication in health and safety matters, including any hazards associated with their activities, e.g. decontamination, transfer of material or equipment etc.
It is therefore expected that Store services, on behalf of the partners, will have in place arrangements which ensure the robust cleaning, and refurbishment of all equipment and relevant adaptations. Advice can be provided by local NHS infection control leads. It is recommended that there should be a separation of arrangements within the Store to comply with decontamination good practice, for 'dirty' and 'clean' equipment.
Investing in cleaning facilities and systems within the Store can deliver business efficiencies, and significant savings can be made through the effective retrieval, cleaning and servicing of equipment.
Good Practice Example
EquipU, the joint equipment store covering 6 local authorities and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in the central west of Scotland, reported that during 2021 £4.2 million worth of equipment was recycled back to the partners, with a reuse cost of only £410,000. The ability to evidence these efficiencies has allowed the partnership to continue to develop, and helped protect the funding for the Store Service.
Partnerships and their Store service providers should be encouraged to record and monitor the recycling benefits they deliver, as this information can be used to evidence savings and efficiencies as part of wider budgetary discussions.
These principles should also apply to the provision of Adaptations. It is evidenced across Scotland that commonly provided standard adaptations have the ability to be recycled.
There are differences in the funding arrangements nationally, for items such as Stairlifts, with some services defining these as equipment, and providing them as part of their Community Equipment services, and other partnerships defining these as Adaptations and funding them from those budgets. Irrespective of the funding arrangements, there are significant opportunities to encourage the recycling of these type of solutions, and this can also be true of other types of adaptation provision.
'Recycling' efficiencies should also apply to the adapted properties themselves, and it is recognised that services need to do more to ensure the appropriate allocation of accessible and adapted properties to match needs in the community, avoiding unnecessary waste.
- Store services will have in place arrangements which ensure the robust decontamination, cleaning, and refurbishment of all equipment returned to the Stores service.
- IAs and their equipment and adaptation service providers should ensure they maximise the potential benefits from recycling of all equipment and relevant adaptations, and record and monitor the recycling benefits they deliver, as this information can be used to evidence savings and efficiencies as part of wider budgetary discussions.
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