Thousands of units of mobility equipment have been returned to NHS hospitals following an appeal calling for patients to return items.
Crutches, wheelchairs, walking frames, supportive seating and other aids worth hundreds of thousands of pounds have been pouring back into hospitals after hospitals around the country campaigned because of a shortage of expensive equipment which was leaving needy patients unaided.
In Liverpool, health bosses outlined how patients who fail to return equipment cost the local NHS £500,000 a year and as a result thousands of pieces of kit were promptly returned.
The Liverpool Echo reported that the volume of returns meant that the wheelchair loan service was saved. Other local services such as St Helens have already had to close following cut-backs.
Users that require wheelchairs in St Helens were signposted to local providers such as Shopmobility, where they can hire or purchase at a subsidised rate. This measure has been avoided in Liverpool so far.
A spokeswoman told the newspaper that more than 20,000 pieces of equipment had been returned since the amnesty began, saving the local NHS trust more than £300,000 so far.
Each wheelchair return is estimated to save the NHS around £135, walking sticks save £35 and supportive seats save around £30.
Other NHS trusts around the country have similarly reported that thousands of pounds have been saved following the drive to return equipment.