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A leading group of Community Equipment Services providers have appealed to people with unneeded equipment to arrange collection in a bid to help support the health and social care sector during the pandemic.

Medequip, Ross Care, NRS Healthcare and Millbrook Healthcare are among the companies working together to ensure vitally needed equipment is still being delivered to the community, ensuring people can safely be cared for in their own homes whilst freeing up crucially needed hospital neds.

As pressure grew on the health and social care sector with the spread of the virus, the providers formed a new working group, headed up the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), to help providers tackle the emerging complex challenges together.

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One of the key issues the group has faced is around collections of unneeded equipment such as beds and commodes.

Andrew Stevenson, Chairman of the BHTA, explained: “One of the biggest challenges facing CES providers is collections, as those with equipment do not want people, understandably, in their homes.

“Unfortunately, this is compounded by a greater need for community equipment as the NHS accelerates the discharge of patients from hospitals to free up bed capacity.”

It comes as many NHS Trusts and local authorities across the UK call for people to return equipment to meet surging demand in the community for items such as beds and commodes.

Encouraging the public to arrange collections for equipment, the BHTA has stressed the important role that Community Equipment Services play in helping the health and social care system cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

“All providers need your assistance to help facilitate more NHS patient discharges and free up more vital bed spaces,” stated the BHTA.

“We are actively requesting those who no longer need loaned beds and equipment to contact their equipment provider so that they can collect and re-cycle them.”

For many smaller items, many service providers are advising residents to leave products outside after arranging collection to avoid face-to-face interactions.

When required to enter the home to collect larger items such as beds, the BHTA has outlined the stringent safety steps in place to ensure individuals who are self-isolating are fully protected.

Measures include thorough infection control procedures and enhanced Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

“If you have a bed, or equipment, in your home that was supplied by the Community Equipment Service that you no longer need, please call your local equipment provider and they will arrange the safe collection and urgent recycling, so that the equipment may be used to help others now in need,” added the Trades Association.

People can find contact details to arrange collection on the documentation given with the equipment during delivery or on a label located on the specific item.

Alternatively, those unable to access this information are advised to search on their local council website under terms including ‘how to return equipment’ or ‘occupational therapy.’

People can find their local council via this link

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