Wye Valley NHS Trust image

Wye Valley NHS Trust is urging residents to check their own homes and their family members’ homes for NHS walking aids, such as crutches, Zimmer frames and metal walking sticks, that are no longer needed as part of its ‘Hand it back’ campaign.

The trust highlights that many unwanted walking aids issued by the NHS are being left unused, when they could be easily be reused by other patients, where safe to do so.

Jo Burns, Clinical Manager for Physiotherapy at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “Many walking aids don’t get handed back because people are not sure where to take them. It’s important that if your walking aid is no longer needed, it is returned to the NHS to help to replenish our stocks for other patients and save the NHS money.

“Any households who are isolating for Covid-19 or are awaiting screening for symptoms of Covid-19 must not return items until their isolation has finished or they/their household members have a COVID-19 negative result.”

­The trust is now encouraging residents to return any walking aids supplied by the NHS – such as from Wye Valley NHS Trust, a GP or a physiotherapist – to Hereford County Hospital. At the hospital, there is a dedicated and labelled container for people to return walking aids.

People are asked to ensure NHS walking aids are in a clean condition before returning them.

If people are unable to return the item but no longer need it, they can alternatively call the trust’s physiotherapy department on 01432 372995.

For items such as beds and chairs that are no longer required, people are encouraged to contact NRS Healthcare on 0300 100 0045 or email enquiries@herefordshire.nrs-uk.net to arrange a collection. All equipment supplied by NRS Healthcare will have a barcode label with NRS on it, the trust notes, and NRS Healthcare will need that number when arrangements are made for equipment collection.

It is not the first time a health or social care organisation has called for patients to return unused mobility and independent living equipment.

Earlier this year, Devon County Council and NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) declared an equipment “amnesty” and urged patients to return any unwanted mobility devices to mitigate risks of running out of stock. They had launched an amnesty in 2020, which resulted in hundreds of items being returned, refurbished, sterilised and put back into use in the community.

Similarly, the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) called on therapy patients to return unused equipment – such as walking aids, toilet equipment and commodes – in a bid to replenish supplies and save the NHS some money.

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