LIKE health boards across Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s budget is under intense pressure.

It is particularly galling therefore that it is having to find an extra £250,000 a month to fund clinical waste disposal that could be better spent on staff and patients.

The saga began in October 2018 when leaked documents from NHS England revealed that, in the previous 12 months, HES had received 13 warnings and two compliance notices from the Environment Agency in relation to huge backlogs of clinical waste.

READ MORE: NHS Glasgow paying £250k-a-month to destroy clinical waste

According to official papers, one of its disposal sites in West Yorkshire was holding 350 tonnes of waste – five times more than the 70 tonnes permitted.

Such was the level of concern that the UK Government had held a meeting of its Cobra national incident committee to discuss the issue, although the government stressed there was no public health risk.

Whistleblowers offered up pictures of bins overflowing with bags of waste, or piled high in hangars.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham told Holyrood in January that there was a backlog of between 250 and 300 tonnes of clinical waste and 10 tonnes of anatomical waste- including amputated body parts - at HES sites in Dundee and Shotts.

Criminal probes into HES were launched by the Environment Agency in England and Sepa in Scotland.

However, Gary Pettigrew, the boss of Shotts-based HES, said the firm was treated unfairly.

He said they had repeatedly warned governments that a reduction in the number of incinerators across the UK, combined with declining efficiency of the ageing incinerators that remained, made it impossible to keep up with demand.

He has called for an inquiry into the collapse of his business and attacked the decision to award a £100m contract to Spanish firm Tradebe when it has no disposal facilities in Scotland.

READ MORE: Call for inquiry as clinical waste costs double

Reports have also questioned Tradebe’s own track record, which includes a string of penalties totalling more than £500,000 in the US for workplace safety and environmental violations.

In the meantime, health boards across Scotland are paying the price for a fiasco not of their making.