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Devon County Council has urged people with unneeded community equipment to return it to Millbrook Healthcare as soon as possible, stressing that an increase in demand may soon result in supply shortages.

In particular, the council is calling for a return of commodes, walking frames, shower stools and raised toilet seats where possible.

The items are often provided to individuals leaving hospital to ensure people can be safe and independent in the community, facilitating discharges from acute care settings and freeing up vitally needed beds.

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As the NHS pushes to increase capacity in the midst of the pandemic, however, Devon County Council has highlighted that there has been a surge in demand for equipment as more people are moved back into the community.

In response, the council has urged those with unwanted community equipment to contact Millbrook Healthcare on 0330 124 4491 to arrange to have it collected for free.

Once a collection is arranged, people will leave the item outside or in a safe place for collection by Millbrook, enabling the Community Equipment Services provider to maintain social distancing.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services, said: “Coronavirus has caused a significant increase in the need for vital community equipment. If anyone has any of these items at home and no longer uses them, please can they get in touch, so that it can be reused to help those who are in need.

“There is some excellent work going on to support the most vulnerable in our communities during these challenging times and this is another valuable way in which you can do that.”

Jointly funded by the NHS and Devon County Council, the Devon Independent Living Integrated Service (DILIS) is provided on their behalf by Millbrook Healthcare.

According to the council, collected equipment that can be re-used will be fully tested, refurbished and thoroughly cleaned before being reused.

Earlier in the month, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) issued a similar appeal, requesting those with unneeded community equipment, particularly mattresses and beds, return the items as soon as possible.

Promising to ensure vital community services are provided throughout the pandemic, Millbrook Healthcare, along with other outsource CES providers and British Healthcare Trades Association, agreed at the end of March to coordinate closely during the crisis.

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