THOUSANDS of disposable cups were brought into Worcestershire hospital and NHS units, new figures have revealed.

Data obtained through Freedom of Information requests showed that NHS trusts across England have paid for more than 600m throwaway cups in the last five years.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital as well as Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre and Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, purchased 906,500 between 2014 and 2018.

Meanwhile, 1,316,675 were brought into NHS facilities run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust between 2013 and 2018.

Disposable cups are used across the health service, in waiting rooms and wards.

The news comes amid rising concerns over the environmental impact of disposable plastic items.

A Government spokesman said that it is "committed to reducing its own use of single-use plastics", but the official response did not address the figures highlighted across the NHS in England.

Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “We all know we’re using far too much throwaway plastic, but these huge figures demonstrate just how out of control our relationship with single-use plastic has become.

"In the last five years the health service has used half a billion disposable cups - they can’t all be captured and recycled, so it’s time for the Government to step in and help suppliers find viable solutions.”

Dr Sue Kinsey, senior pollution policy officer at the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), said: “If it really is an impossibility to wash cups, at the very least, the service should move away from using polystyrene, which is not easily recyclable and move to a system where cups are collected and recycled.”

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, added: “Aside from the harsh environmental impact of such vast numbers, we also have to consider the great inefficiencies of such huge amounts of waste.”

Both Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust were unavailable for comment.