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Driving waste management efficiency in the NHS

Driving waste management efficiency in the NHS

To create a more efficient waste management service in the NHS, a holistic approach is required. Significant long-term savings are a real possibility for every Trust but to achieve these savings, changes are required in the procurement process, contracts need to be specified more accurately, waste management procedures need to be better documented and staff training must be fit for purpose. Where possible, new technologies should also be embraced and collaboratively procured across the NHS structure.

In addition, more effective stakeholder engagement is critical and in some cases is critical to delivering a more efficient and cost-effective waste management service. Indeed, this engagement with stakeholders and the wider supply chain is representative of the collaborative approach that underpins all of Anenta’s contracts with NHS England.

Tasked with providing NHS England with a reliable service offering greater control over the waste disposal contractors while directly influencing waste producers to reduce waste volumes and associated costs for services in North London, Anenta deployed its proprietary operating system Vector.

Vector is based on a simple operational model which enables service ‘agreements’ to be formed as a result of targeted stakeholder engagement. Using this system and methodology, Anenta was able to manage contractors and their costs through its integral monitoring and validation processes.

Defining ‘agreements’ as variations to an existing or newly procured waste disposal contract, such agreements are initiated by the waste producer or customer, who makes a request via the contract manager – Anenta, for a specific action. These actions were wide ranging in their scope, including environmental compliance updates for instance as well as those which might be expected more commonly such as requests to reschedule missed collections.

Documenting these requests, Anenta passed the instruction to the waste contractor through Vector. The waste contractor is then obliged to respond and confirm when the request will be actioned in accordance with the terms of their contract. This engagement, managed by Anenta, created the agreements and allowed KPIs to be tracked.

This type of engagement between the three stakeholders – the waste producer, Anenta and the waste contractor – was a continual process, taking place regularly throughout the contract with more specific information being gathered at all stages. The information gathered along with service data provisions from waste contractors was then used by Anenta to create new, dedicated efficiency initiatives and other campaigns.

During the first seven months of Anenta’s work with NHS England focusing on North London services, engagement with all parties proved invaluable in determining the scale of the issues with a wide variety of stakeholders including Local Representative Committees (LPCs and LMCs). This engagement work included running seminars and attending multiple LPC meetings, Pan London LPC meetings and various LMC events as well as issuing feedback forms.

Having identified a clear lack of understanding of issues such as packaging requirements and segregation as classified in Safe Management of Healthcare Waste v.2, as well as confusion surrounding the advice provided by waste contractors, Anenta quickly brought best practice to the forefront of all stakeholders’ minds.

The solution developed by Anenta – an efficiency campaign designed to standardise clinical waste types and the packaging used, combined with a mechanism to communicate best practice and provide answers to frequently asked questions – saw a significant change in the volume of bagged hazardous waste, reducing costs by 40%.

In the first 16 months of the contract Anenta’s activity generated savings of over £1.8m, rising to £3.2m within two years.