WA News Letters Hospital trash is another’s treasure
Hospital trash is another’s treasure
Written by Dr Robert Davies
Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Dear Editor,

The obscenity of the waste generated in our hospitals (July (War on Waste) and August (Separate Hospital Waste) editions) is surpassed by a Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital bureaucracy that recently refused to donate unused expired medical equipment to those of us involved in overseas medical and surgical aid projects.

Newborn babies in Cambodia are being wrapped in newspaper while Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital sends unused sterile but expired cloths and other perfectly useable medical disposables to landfill, claiming that this is Health Department of WA policy.

Dr Robert Davies, Urological Surgeon, West Leederville

Response

Western Australian hospitals have donated many pieces of medical equipment such as crutches, dressing trolleys, hospital beds, walking frames and operating tables to various countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somaliland.

Following decommissioning of the Swan District Hospital in late 2015 the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) donated a significant amount of medical equipment and furniture to the ‘Health Hope Zambia’ and other charity groups.

NMHS remains supportive of such initiatives and is currently exploring avenues of support for the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital in Cambodia, following a request from the Nokor Tep Foundation in Cambodia to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Unused sterile expired cloths and medical disposables are considered to be unsafe once outside the use by dates. The Health Service has a duty of care to dispose of these products appropriately. To allow others to use items that we, ourselves, do not allow for safety reasons would breach that duty.

Department of Health WA spokesperson