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Destroying X-rays and other hospital waste

Hospitals are arguably one of the most incredible places for people who are fascinated in technology and gadgets.

There are all sorts of wonderful inventions stored there that have changed the world – and scientists across the world are working on more. No wonder life expectancy continues to skyrocket in the UK and throughout the world.

It’s incredible to think that equipment like X-Rays and heart monitors were invented so long ago. These revolutionary inventions are still amongst the most important created in healthcare, even with the development of so many new-fangled contraptions.

Typically, plenty of care has to be taken when using these machines and even more when disposing of this equipment.

Regulations for disposing of X-Rays

Every time an X-ray is taken, an image is beamed onto a small piece of film. It’s common for dozens if not hundreds of pieces of film need to disposing of every single day in a hospital. Every X-ray film needs disposing of safely and carefully – it’s not just a case of throwing them in a bin. There are privacy laws that prevent this from happening.

Law requires that hospitals keep all X-rays on file for seven years. After that, they have to be disposed of discreetly. Patients might not appreciate others having access to their body images. There are also laws stating that X-rays should be disposed of in a way that is environmentally responsible.

How to dispose of X-Rays

Most hospitals will outsource a recycling firm that specialises in industrial film destruction. There are various licences which show how qualified a company is to do this. These includes ISO9001, ISO27001 and ISO14001 accreditation. Some companies will pick up the X-Rays direct from the hospital.

Either way, there should all be stored in sturdy and secure packaging. Perhaps a duck-taped box would be suitable. This ensures the security that no-one will be able to access the X-rays. Reputable recycling companies will provide receipts confirming that the X-Rays have been disposed of in suitable ways.

Disposing of other hospital equipment

The standards of cleanliness for hospitals are much higher than for almost any other commercial property. Seriously ill people have to stay in hospitals for weeks or even months at a time so staff have to take extra measures to ensure that no bugs or germs infect their patients.

This means that the disposal of all equipment, from electrical goods to bedsheets, has to be undertaken with the sort of care described above. Cleaning staff are essential to the smooth running of a hospital. If any virus breaks out then it is standard procedure for wards to be closed or isolated to ensure it doesn’t spread. Following that, an excessive decontamination process takes place. This is often a huge hassle that hospitals could do without.

Despite the technological advances in hospitals, the majority of them will outsource experts when it comes to the disposal of equipment. This is arguably a sensible step, which allows hospitals to concentrate on their own expertise – helping patients.
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