Cannock Chase Cannock Chase

Chamber of Commerce

Contact: Chris Plant T: 0845 6036650

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Medical waste has been overlooked

A Burntwood-based incinerator manufacturer has said that the disposal of medical waste in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis has been overlooked. Addfield Environmental Systems, which designs and manufactures a

range of solid waste incinerators which are used in more than 100 countries, said that how medical waste was disposed on was of critical importance. The company’s operations director, Derek Carr, said that millions of tons

of additional hazardous waste was going to be generated around the world due to the coronavirus situation. He said: “The management of hazardous waste can make a dramatic

difference in protecting communities from viral infection. In most developed regions benefitting from established medical facilities, this will not prove to cause an insurmountable problem. “As their health care systems redirect to focus on the most important

tasks at hand directing waste generated directly to their existing treatment systems. “However, for countries with a less established means of waste management, this additional pressure could increase the spread of the disease. Increasing risks and stretching out the time required for the infection rate to reduce. “It is not uncommon in less developed or prepared regions for medical

waste to be disposed of on common ground or burned in open fire pits, both approaches run the very high risks of spreading the disease rather than containing it.

Engineering firm answers call for PPE

One of Staffordshire’s top employers has stepped in to lend its support to the county’s army of care workers following an appeal. Engineering firm GE Renewables, based in

Stafford, has donated a package of personal protective equipment (PPE) after an appeal was made by the county council and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. The county council needs PPE for its care

workers which includes those in adult and children social care, care homes, nursing homes and front-line social workers during the Covid-19 outbreak period. The PPE package included 83 pairs of safety

glasses, 280 masks and 600 pairs of gloves. GE Renewables’ Steve Cook said: “With the

support of the UK Grid Solutions leadership team, Jacqui Hodgkinson, Gary Jones and I raided our supplies and were able to put together a significant package of materials to help protect this group of key workers. “During these difficult times it’s important that

local businesses and the public sector work together more than ever than before to deal with this crisis. We were very pleased to be able to provide some practical support in this way.” Staffordshire County Council’s Alan White

said: “Our care workers are doing a tremendous job in extremely difficult conditions. “It is hugely encouraging to see how businesses are working closely with us at this time.”


Burn it: Derek Carr with some of the incinerators

“It is globally recognised that the safest way of neutralising and

destroying hazardous and dangerous medical waste is through appropriate incineration. “Achieving temperatures in excess of 850°C completely removes the risks

as any viral or bacterial agents are completely destroyed. “We are sure that the prolonged impact of the coronavirus will carry on

long after it is still making headlines. And we hope that we will be able to continue to help prevent future outbreaks.” Addfield has been working with international aid agencies for many

years, including United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Medecin Sans Frontieres (MSF), and Unicef with recent projects being carried out in Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Yemen, and Tajikistan.

Funding available for technology businesses

Technology businesses in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are being urged to bid for a £500,000 funding scheme to provide digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of Covid-19. The funding will be available to innovators

that can find digital ways to support people who need help during the coronavirus outbreak.

‘I am calling on the strength of our innovative technology sector to take on this challenge.’

The ‘Techforce19’ challenge aims to support

those who need to stay at home for several weeks and need help. This could include people who need mental health support or who have social care needs. Funding of up to £25,000 per company is

available. The programme is looking for digital solutions and could include: providing remote social care – for example, by locating and matching qualified carers to those in need;

optimising the volunteer sector – for example, by developing tools to recruit, train and coordinate local volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers; and improving mental health support – for example, by making it easier to discover and deliver mental health services and support. This technology will supplement existing

support for those who may be most affected by staying at home for long periods of time. The programme is being launched by NHSX

and managed by PUBLIC, a GovTech venture firm. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local

Enterprise Partnership chairman Alun Rogers said: “Our area provides a wealth of entrepreneurship in the tech sector and we want to use this talent and expertise to support the country through these difficult times.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt

Hancock said: “If people cannot leave the house, we need to quickly find ways to bring support to them and today I am calling on the strength of our innovative technology sector to take on this challenge.”

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