Clinical waste management e-learning for healthcare EFM personnel
An e-learning programme for healthcare estates and facilities staff, reportedly one of the UK’s first of its kind for the healthcare sector, and developed by clinical waste management company, Stericycle, has been launched after a successful trial.
Such has been its success, that it is being extended to cover the waste generated by COVID-19 and the vaccination programme. The online Health Waste Management CPD-accredited course, which 'covers the complete clinical waste chain', has already been taken by over 100 healthcare professionals, including nurses, from more than 48 separate organisations across the country.
Stericycle explains that the programme is designed to ensure best practice in healthcare waste management, and to keep health service organisations compliant, and employees safe, by raising awareness of the risks and penalties for incorrect waste management. It also aims to educate their staff to keep waste to a minimum. The five-module programme covers the complete waste journey – from the healthcare organisation to processing and treatment offsite. It includes an introduction to waste management and the responsibilities of the healthcare sector as a producer of waste, the importance of audits and reviews, and a guide to waste segregation at source and the different waste containers in use.
The course also explains how to store waste safely and compliantly on healthcare premises, accurately label it ready for transport, and what happens to it when it arrives at a treatment facility. In addition, it covers the disposal of sharps.
The modules on COVID-19 and vaccination waste, to be introduced in March, cover segregation, packaging, collection, and processing, of a wide range of PPE and medical equipment – including dressings, swabs, wipes, gloves, gowns, masks, blood bags, vials, vaccination needles, and syringes. A certificate will be issued to successful participants.
Participants can access a comprehensive library of guides and other information produced by bodies including the Chartered Institution of Waste Management, the Environment Agency, and the Environmental Services Association. These include guidance on areas such as the safe management of clinical waste, the importance of pre-acceptance waste audits prior to collection, and avoiding misclassification and assessment of waste.
The e-learning programme is available free of charge to all healthcare customers of Stericycle, which include over 200 NHS organisations. The company is planning to widen availability to other healthcare organisations.
Dawn Hall and Anna Leite are two examples of staff working on the frontline in the healthcare waste sector to have benefited from the Healthcare Waste Management E-learning course. They have both successfully completed the programme.
Dawn Hall, Waste and Decommissioning manager at Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust, said: “This is a good and easy way to provide waste management training for staff in an NHS setting.”