Violation of Hospital Waste Treatment Continues

An investigation conducted yesterday in Bach Mai Hospital and the National Cancer Hospital (K Hospital), two hospitals known for selling medical waste to private firms to reprocess into household utensils, showed that the staff from both hospitals are still ignoring the safety requirements for medical waste treatment.

Medical waste collected in a hospital

Mr. Nguyen Ba Duc, Director of the K Hospital, said the hospital always classifies medical waste before having it transferred to the hospital's waste treatment center. It has also signed a contract with the Ha Noi Urban Environment Company on waste treatment and, as he said, the hospital staff has received four training courses on waste classification. 

The reality is far different from what was said. According to the safety regulations for medical waste treatment, waste from daily activities must be put into blue garbage bags; yellow bags are used for hazardous medical waste, and black for medical waste with radioactive elements.

However, a large amount of hazardous medical waste was found in blue garbage bags, mixed with waste from daily activities. Moreover, no one can distinguish between dustbins for medical waste and those for waste from daily activities because they are all the same color: blue.

The practice of medical waste treatment in Bach Mai Hospital is no better than that of K Hospital. A large amount of medical waste including rubber gloves and tubes were found in the midst of other types of garbage in the hospital’s dustbins for waste from daily activities.

Moreover, staff from both hospitals were found transporting medical waste through patient-room areas—an act seriously violating the safety requirements for medical waste treatment and potentially dangerous to the nearby community, said Ms. Tran Thi Ngoc Linh, an inspector from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen said the two hospitals need to strengthen measures for the management and treatment of hospital waste. Moreover, additional training courses on waste classification should be given to all hospital staff, she added.

Concerning medical waste recycling, Ms. Xuyen said that the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment would consider which categories of hospital waste can be recycled and the two ministries would carefully review the implementation of regulations on hospital waste in all domestic hospitals.

Related article:
Bach Mai Hospital Caught Selling Medical Waste

By Khanh Nguyen – Translated by Khanh Hong

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