• Mitie charging trusts £10.4m for clinical waste services
  • Previous provider found to be stockpiling waste says it charged £3.3m
  • Thirty trusts continue to use Healthcare Environmental Services

Nearly 20 NHS trusts are paying three times as much for clinical waste services after their contracts were moved from the company at the centre of the stockpiling row, HSJ can reveal. 

Outsourcing giant Mitie is charging trusts in Yorkshire and Humber £10.4m per year to dispose of their clinical waste after the trusts cancelled their previous contracts with Healthcare Environmental Services.

HES said its annual charge to the consortium of trusts was £3.3m.

In October, NHS Improvement told 18 trusts to cancel their contracts with HES after the company was repeatedly guilty of breaching Environment Agency permits for amounts of waste stored at HES’ premises.

HES claimed its backlog - which includes some human body parts - had built up because the country lacked adequate incineration capacity to deal with the waste – an argument which the government has dismissed. The crisis was revealed by HSJ in October and revealed widespread national coverage.

Later that month, a deal with Mitie was urgently brokered, for which a contract award notice has been published.

The notice stated the estimated value of the contract is £10.4m, potentially rising to £23.9m if the 30 other trusts served by HES also move to Mitie in the future.

A HES spokesman told HSJ its overall charge to the trusts, including those that have moved to Mitie, was £8.3m. The company has denied allegations its bid was too low to provide the service in a financially sustainable way. 

The NHS’ contracting authority with Mitie is Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said prices charged by Mitie and HES are “a commerial matter for those companies”. 

She added: ”But it is clear that HES was not fulfilling its requirements which led to the stockpiling. Our priority has been to support NHS trusts to ensure there is no disruption to services, and our contingency plans continue to ensure that all clinical waste is removed and disposed of safely.”

The notice revealed Mitie was awarded the contract without a tender being published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which is allowed where a new provider of services is sought urgently.

It stated HES’ breaches of the EA’s permit limits “continues to pose a direct risk to the relevant trusts who have an ongoing duty of care in respect of their waste”.

The notice also stated further action from the EA was anticipated at HES’ other sites which serve the trusts which have not yet moved to the Mitie contract.

Last month the EA confirmed to HSJ that HES had met its deadlines to bring levels of waste at its Newcastle site back down to permitted levels.

The company has two deadlines in January to do the same at its Nottingham and Bradford sites.

HSJ has approached Mitie for comment.

The trusts and foundation trusts which have moved to the Mitie contract are:

Airedale;

Barnsley Hospital;

Bradford District Care;

Calderdale and Huddersfield;

Harrogate District Hospital;

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals;

Humber Teaching;

Leeds and York Partnership;

Leeds Community Healthcare;

Leeds Teaching Hospitals;

Mid Yorkshire;

Midland Partnership;

Sheffield Children’s;

Sheffield Health and Social Care;

South West Yorkshire Partnership;

York Teaching Hospitals; and

Yorkshire Ambulance Service.