PEOPLE across County Durham and Darlington have returned hundreds of items of unwanted mobility equipment in response to a request from the NHS and social care.
Walking frames, crutches, wheelchairs and toilet frames were among the many pieces of equipment brought to drop off points at the Arnison Centre, Durham and Morrisons, Morton Park, Darlington.
The incredible haul follows an appeal by NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Tees Valley CCG, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Darlington Borough Council, Durham County Council and Medequip, for people to ‘check their sheds’ and return any loaned NHS or social care community equipment that they no longer need.
Darlington Mayor Councillor Anne-Marie Curry, who visited the Morrisons, Morton Park, drop off point to support the project, said: “Having a disability myself I have a greater understanding of the need for mobility equipment.
“I think this is an excellent scheme to return unwanted equipment and help the NHS and social care. We are all aware that hospitals and social care have very tight budgets and there isn’t always money available for replacement equipment, so I can’t stress enough the importance of returning items that can be used again to help other people who really need them.”
Equipment drop offs are available every Monday – Friday, 8:45am-5pm, at Medequip warehouse, Unit 3, Beaumont Square, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6XN.
All items regardless of condition, bent, rusty or scratched, and irrespective of who it was originally loaned to, will be accepted – no questions asked. All equipment returned will be safely recycled in line with the NHS’s commitment to sustainability.
Medequip retail and engagement manager, Alex Roberts, who took the opportunity of the Mayor’s visit to give her crutches a walking aid heath check, said: ” The response to this appeal has been absolutely fabulous.
“We’ve had people turning up with carloads of equipment, some even making two trips to drop off their unwanted items.
“We’ve done similar events before, in other parts of the country, but none have been quite as successful as this.
“I hope this will encourage more people to ‘check their sheds and if they have any mobility aids at home, lurking in the garage or in the back of cupboards, we welcome
any returns to our warehouse in Newton Aycliffe or they can give us a call to arrange a collection for large or bulky items.’’
Home collections can be arranged for equipment including, beds, rise and recline chairs, hoists, mattresses and bath lifts, by contacting Medequip www.medequip-uk.com/contact/newton-aycliffe or calling 01325 524531.
CDDFT clinical equipment advisor Kim Noble said: “It used to be that some equipment was not accepted back to hospitals after it was no longer needed and there was a lot of confusion about how people could return items.
“We now have new processes in place and there are lots of ways in which people can bring back unwanted equipment to be used to help other people.”
Walking aids such as crutches and walking sticks can be returned to any CDDFT physiotherapy department at all hospitals and community hospitals.
Any items of equipment that were not originally provided by the NHS or social care across County Durham and Darlington, will be passed onto the relevant organisations.
Peter Thornton, 66, of Darlington who returned a walking frame, commode, perching stool and toilet frame added: ” I saw the appeal online and thought it was a great idea.
“The equipment belonged to my late father and had been in the back of the garage for the past two years.
“It was unused and too good to throw away, so now it can be recycled and reused for someone else to have the benefit.”