NHS Trust launches equipment amnesty and urges patients to return unused mobility aids
George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust has launched a ‘mobility equipment amnesty’ and is encouraging patients to return their unused crutches and Zimmer frames as the hospital’s stock runs low.
Patients are being encouraged to return their unused mobility aids to George Eliot Hospital, which is based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.
As seen in Coventry Live, the NHS Trust has set up an amnesty cage for equipment returns so people do not have to enter the hospital in a bid to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The cage will be placed outside the hospital’s Rehabilitation Entrance (Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Services).
Those who have no transport to return items to the hospital are advised to contact equipment providers Millbrook Healthcare (for those in Warwickshire) or NRS Healthcare (for those in Leicestershire), depending on the resident’s location, who can collect the mobility items from the patient’s home.
This is not the first time NHS organisations, local authorities and community equipment service providers have launched campaigns to encourage people to return unused and unwanted mobility aids.
In 2018, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched an initiative that encouraged patients to return healthcare equipment, including crutches and wheelchairs, for reuse or donation to charity where possible. The aim was to reduce the NHS’ carbon footprint by stopping mobility equipment from being thrown away or left unused in homes.
In February 2019, NRS Healthcare, Herefordshire Council and Wye Valley NHS Trust launched the ‘Hand it Back’ campaign to encourage residents to return unwanted medical equipment so it can be reused by other patients.
The campaign aimed to stop unnecessary equipment waste, as according to Herefordshire Council, it sees many mobility aids, such as walking frames, crutches, wheelchairs and chairs, unnecessarily wasted by people who no longer have a use for them. For other people, items lie around their homes instead of being put to good use, where they could be recycled and reused by other patients.
Last year, a BBC report also unveiled the extent to which equipment was failing to reissued by local authorities, CCGs and community equipment services, with a particular focus on lower-cost equipment such as crutches and walking frames.
The investigation showed that across England, health authorities and councils spend £207 million each year on mobility aids.