Local NHS and social care leaders are calling on people across North Yorkshire and York to return loaned equipment like walking frames, crutches, beds, mattresses and hoists when no longer needed.
Last year the NHS launched a national so-called “crutch amnesty” to deal with concerns that perfectly good medical equipment is going to waste.
It is thought that for every 50 pairs of crutches issued through the NHS, only 10 pairs are returned. With a pair of crutches typically costing around £12.50, the annual bill for crutches in the NHS is estimated to be around £3m.
This is also costing the local health service tens of thousands of pounds – money that could be invested elsewhere.
On behalf of the NHS clinical commissioning groups in North Yorkshire and York, Dr Charles Parker, Clinical Chairman of NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We’re calling on people to return, recycle or request collection of unwanted equipment so it can be used again by someone else in need.
“It’s vital we manage local NHS resources and budgets responsibly and reducing waste plays a big part in that.”
Cllr Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adult Services and Health Integration for North Yorkshire County Council said: “Health and social care equipment includes a range of products to assist independent living at home, including mobility and communication aids, shower chairs, perching stools, walking aids and pressure relieving mattresses/cushions.
“A lot of this equipment never finds its way back to the provider when it’s surplus to requirements.
“It’s quite likely it’s just been put in the garage or in the cupboard under the stairs and forgotten about once it’s served its purpose.”
Michaela Harris, Business Support Manager from Medequip Assistive Technology Ltd (Medequip) which provides the service said: “If our customers have equipment they no longer need, they can simply get in touch with us and we’ll pick the equipment up for free – just ring 01423 226240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Alternatively, surplus equipment can be returned to one of Medequip’s depot drop-off points in Scarborough or Knaresborough, or deposit it in one of three amnesty bins.
“There are currently two at York Hospital and one at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton. “We’re looking at increasing the number of these bins across other North Yorkshire and York locations.”