Unreturned walking aids costing hospitals 'thousands'

Suffolk and north Essex hospitals, including Ipswich Hospital, are prepared for a 'second surge' of

Unreturned walking sticks, crutches and Zimmer frames are costing the NHS thousands of pounds - Credit: Archant

The trust behind Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has pleaded for patients to return walking aids – with unreturned equipment costing the NHS "thousands".

The plea comes as estimates suggest that only one in five pairs of crutches are returned to the NHS, costing the health service thousands of pounds nationally.

The figure also covers walking sticks and Zimmer frames.

Penny Carson, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust director of allied health professionals, said returned items help future patients.

She said: “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.

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“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.”

Aids can be returned at Colchester Hospital's physiotherapy department between 8am and 4pm on weekdays, or at one of the blue amnesty bins at Ipswich Hospital.

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Alternatively, pick-up can be arranged via Medequip on 01473 351805.

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