East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has issued a reminder for patients to return mobility aids such as walking sticks and warned that unreturned equipment is costing the NHS “thousands”.
The Trust said that anybody who has been lent crutches, a walking stick or zimmer frame and no longer needs it should return it to Colchester Hospital or drop it in one of the ‘amnesty’ bins at Ipswich Hospital.
Alternatively, they can arrange a collection by equipment provider Medequip or return it directly to the company’s depot in Ipswich.
Each piece of equipment is also clearly labelled so that patients know where to return it once they have finished using it, but every year a number are not given back.
Penny Cason, ESNEFT’s director of Allied Health Professionals, said: “The health service loses thousands of pounds every year due to unreturned walking aids, with some estimates suggesting that for every five pairs of crutches issued through the NHS, only one is returned.
“That is why we are reminding people how to return their equipment after use so that it can go on to help other patients in the future.
“Bringing back used equipment also gives us the chance to make sure it is thoroughly cleaned in line with our infection control standards, and has been safety checked by a trained member of staff to make sure it can be passed onto someone else.
“We would urge anyone who has borrowed equipment not to pass in onto anyone else but to return it to us so that we can make sure it can be safely re-used, in turn both benefitting other patients while also helping to save precious NHS money.”