I have recently been informed that sharps bins used by patients in their homes are subsequently returned to either a pharmacy or GP practice for disposal. At this point, the patients name and GP practice details are put on a label which is then stuck onto the bin prior to collection by a watse producer. In order to satisfy laws relating to waste disposal I have been informed that "the law requires an audit trail to the producer of the wastes [required under 3 different acts of parliament its cradle to grave to an EA man can track down a sharps bin to the door of the waste producer] - hence for example the nurse has to record her name on the sharps bin if she produces the waste - so that means in reality the label should contain the patient name and full address".
The argument for having this information on the bins is that if someone had to go to the house to collect the waste, the patients name and address would be supplied anyway and that if patients are taking these to the GP practices, they are giving implied consent for their details to be available for audit purposes.
I still feel that this compromises patient confidentiality and that it should be possible to use an NHS number so that it is not 'obvious' who the patient is but this could be audited if necessary. I would appreciate your views.
Kind regards, Wendy
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