A pensioner facing a long recovery from major surgery says she is concerned that missed assisted bin collections of clinical waste from her home poses a potential health risk.
Jennifer Senior, 69, who lives in Salendine Nook, uses both a stoma (colostomy) bag and a fistula pouch (wound bag) following an operation two years ago to remove her bowel.
After undergoing the procedure she spent 17 weeks in hospital and required daily visits from nursing staff to assist with the management of the bags, which were disposed of in a purpose-built yellow bin designed for clinical waste.
In April she was told by Kirklees Council that the distinctive yellow bin would be removed and her weekly collection would cease. Instead, the clinical waste could be placed in her standard grey bin, which is emptied each fortnight.
But she has discovered that some clinical waste has been left behind for the last four weeks. Aside from the unpleasant smell she fears that it could heighten the risk of her catching an infection.
“I do as much as I can to assist the nurses that come to me,” she said. “They come three times a week now instead of four times a day when I first left hospital.
“I triple-bag the waste and put it in the bin for collection. Then the bin men collect it. Everything goes in the bin wagon.
“I can’t physically wheel my bin out to the road, neither can my husband, Gerard, who is 83. My nearest neighbour is 93 so I’m reliant on the assisted collection but it’s being missed.”
Mrs Senior’s next scheduled collection will make it six weeks since some clinical waste was left behind. That, she says, is “unacceptable”.
The retired sales rep added: “I will be honest, it does smell and it’s a health hazard. My bins are next to my door. I have to be careful not to pick up infections. If I do my fistula will go haywire. The bag can leak and then the nurses have to come out. I am getting neurotic about it. The last time I complained the council said they would get somebody out ASAP but they took two weeks!”
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of a single reported missed collection from this address that had already been rescheduled for collection today. If the customer has any further concerns about her medical waste disposal she can contact the council by calling 01484 221000 and asking for waste or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”