CONCERNS have been raised used needles will end up in rubbish bags after free sharps bins were removed from chemists.

Yellow bins for free disposal of needles used to be available at chemists around the district.

But NHS England has now removed the service and instead residents have to call their council to request their sharp items be collected, which can incur a charge.

Ivan Henderson, county councillor for Harwich, said: “My real concern is if people can’t drop them off for free they could end up in bin bags.

“People will try to get rid of them somewhere.

“It could have implications for everyone, the workers picking up those bins and kids stumbling across used needles.”

Zoe O’Neill, from Dovercourt, said she has had trouble getting her bins collected.

She said: “My son is now on a insulin pump.

“There is no charge for collection of sharps bins for chronic long term medical conditions, but I am yet to have a collection.

“I’ve called three times since the service first began which I believe was around middle of January.”

Becky Jones, from Harwich, said: “I have Type 1 diabetes and have five full sharps bins in the cupboard - not the councils fault as I haven’t tried to arrange a pick up yet as I am in and out all the time and don’t have the chance to stay in and wait.

“It would be so much easier if could take to a doctors surgery or hospital at my convenience.”

Tendring Council says it offers a collection service for free.

A spokesman said: “As of January 2 clinical waste collection was transferred from the NHS to Tendring Council.

“The council offers a free collection service for domestic hazardous clinical waste.

“This service is available for all eligible customers who live in the district and self-administer medical treatment..”

Catherine O’Connell, director of commissioning at NHS England, said: “The NHS is responsible for funding and arranging the collection and disposal of clinical waste from GP surgeries, and unwanted medicines from pharmacies.

“Local councils are responsible for collecting clinical waste from people’s homes.”