Mix-up over diabetic man’s needle disposal

jpco 24-12-14 Eric and Jean Dinnair  (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-141218-121655001
jpco 24-12-14 Eric and Jean Dinnair (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-141218-121655001

A diabetic man had to keep his used needles in an ice cream tub after a muddle over how he could dispose of them.

Eric Dunnair, of Langley Green, has been injecting insulin since he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes six months ago.

He regularly took his used needles in a special container to Crawley Hospital where they were disposed of safely while Eric was given a new container.

But when he tried to do so before Christmas, he was told the service had stopped and he needed to go to his GP surgery.

With Leacroft Medical Practice still not open after its roof was blown off more than a year ago, Eric went to Cross Keys House, in the town centre. He said he was then sent to pick up a form at the town hall to be signed by his GP so collection of the needles could be arranged.

In the end, Eric, 65, and his wife Jean, 64, put Eric’s used needles into an ice cream tub while they waited for a solution to the problem – which arrived a couple of days later when the borough council arranged to collect the needles.

While pleased with the outcome, Eric said he was concerned for people who were less able-bodied than himself who may not have been so capable of dealing with the problem.

Lloyd Barker, head of locality at Sussex Community NHS Trust, confirmed changes to the needle disposal system were due, replacing a five-year informal arrangement which allowed people to drop their needles at Crawley Hospital.

He added: “We are currently discussing more appropriate arrangements for residents to dispose of these waste materials with Crawley Borough Council.

“It is anticipated that any changes will become effective from 1 February 2015 and we will ensure clear information about any change is made available to local people.

“Alternatively residents can contact their local council direct to arrange for their sharps bins to be collected from their home, this service is currently offered free of charge. In the meantime, we continue to accept sharps bins at our Planned Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital. We apologise if people have been incorrectly told about possible changes ahead of time.”