The Health Service Executive (HSE) is set to pay at least €7 million to get rid of out-of-date hand sanitiser, face masks and other PPE that it purchased during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Irish Mirror, the HSE is currently looking for proposals for the disposal of alcohol hand gel, which is flammable and cannot be dumped in landfill.
It is expected that a contractor will be around €4.1 million to get rid of old hand sanitiser and burn it for energy recovery.
Goggles and face shields that were used during the pandemic will also be ditched by the HSE from next April at a reported cost of €1.2 million.
It is hoped that these can be recycled, reused or converted for other purposes.
The health authority also needs to get rid of long-sleeved gowns and coverall suits used byy by healthcare staff.
These are currently being stored in warehouses along with other Covid-era PPE at a cost of around €1.7 million a year.
The disposal of this protective clothing is expected to cost €700,000, while getting rid of surgical masks and filtering facepiece (FFP) masks will cost another €70,000.
Certain coverall suits may be repurposed for non-medical use but will cost the HSE €100,000 to dispose of them.
The HSE is seeking tenders for a contract to remove and dispose of its vast stash of PPE, but also intends to pay €70,000 to have certain products relabelled in order to extend their shelf life.
“Demand for PPE is still strong but has reduced from the volumes required during the pandemic period,” the agency explained in the tender documents.
“Post-Covid-19, as is the [way] across the European continent, the HSE has a current and future requirement for proposals to manage and dispose of end-of-life PPE over the coming years.”
The process of getting rid of excess Covid-19 equipment will begin with getting rid obsolete PPE that is currently stored on pallets in warehouses in locations around the country.
This will be followed by expired PPE that is currently stored in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
Going forward, there will be smaller quantities of PPE that expire each year that will need to be removed.
The Irish Mirror reports that understood that nearly 11,000 pallets of PPE are currently located in warehouses.
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