HOSPITAL porters who volunteered for the “horrendous” job of rifling through rubbish to look for used syringes and swabs says trust bosses have let them down by not paying them on time.

Around ten porters from the hospital volunteered to do night shifts at the Veolia Environmental Services waste depot on Burnt Mills Industrial estate, Basildon, to scour refuses contaminated by used medical equipment incorrectly disposed of by nurses and doctors.

Clinical waste should be thrown out in separate bags and sharps boxes, but the hospital has faced a growing problem of it going into the general waste stream.

In September the Echo revealed Veolia had banned hospital waste from going to landfill and the porters were rummaging through contaminated waste at the depot.

One of the porters, who refused to be named after they were banned from speaking to the press, said: “We volunteered for this. OK it meant overtime, but we are really helping the hospital out and it is horrendous work.”

“We have all the gloves and special clothing, but I have put my hand in excrement and clots of blood. 

" It is just an insult. We were supposed to get £210 for three shifts before tax, but they have only paid us 60 per cent. Some of us were relying on that money and everyone is very annoyed that they volunteered but got this treatment.”

A hospital spokeswoman said: “The trust can confirm that a clerical error has caused a delay to the additional payments that porters are receiving for working at the Veolia waste site.

“The trust appreciates the additional work that the porters are carrying out at the waste processing site and regrets that a clerical error has delayed a proportion of their additional payments.”