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Healthcare Environmental Services to sue NHS

Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) says it will sue 17 NHS trusts in Yorkshire and Humber which terminated its contracts after revelations it had illegally stockpiled clinical waste, including body parts.

Earlier this week, HealthInvestor UK reported that the group was planning to sue – and now it’s been revealed that HES will seek upwards of £15 million in damages.

According to a letter seen by Health Service Journal, HES threatened legal action against the trusts if they fail to reinstate the contracts – based on advice from its law firm Shoosmiths, which asserts the trusts’ actions constitute a repudiatory breach of contract, as HES was not given time to outline proposals to continue to provide waste disposal services.

The contracts were terminated on the instruction of NHS Improvement, and services transferred to outsourcing company Mitie under the terms of a government contingency plan.

BBC News reported that the Environment Agency has taken enforcement action against HES and launched a criminal investigation. HES, however, denies claims of mismanagement and insists it has been unfairly “vilified”. 

HES managing director Garry Pettigrew said: “We feel that we have been left with no choice but to take legal action against the trusts after the terms of the agreed contracts were broken. Our contracts were terminated without first discussing any performance issues with the company and we were given no opportunity to fulfil our obligations. We are now taking this action to safeguard the company and our employees’ future, and to give us an opportunity to correct some of the misinformation that has been reported in the media.”

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Posted on: 09/11/2018

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