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Return, recycle, reuse - NHS community equipment amnesty launched across Suffolk
People in Suffolk are being asked to cut waste by returning as much unused NHS equipment as possible during March.
The NHS and the county council have been working with suppliers to ensure equipment, including crutches, walking frames and mattresses, can be returned easily as part of a month-long NHS amnesty from 1 to 31 March 2017.
Last year local health services issued over 100,000 NHS community equipment items to Suffolk patients in need at a cost of more than £8.5m. By the end of the year nearly 40,000 items, costing £3.4m, had not been returned to the contractor Medequip. While some patients need equipment for long periods of time, NHS services lose thousands of pounds each year due to missing equipment.
Some of the equipment the NHS is keen to get back includes alternating air mattresses, which cost £1,650 each, and wheeled adjustable frames, costing £12.70 each. In one month alone last year, nearly £8,500 worth of wheeled adjustable frames and nearly £600,000 worth of air mattresses were issued by Suffolk NHS services.
Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer for NHS Ipswich and East and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: “We know from feedback we got during summer 2016 that people want us to do all we can to reduce financial waste in our NHS services. So it makes perfect sense for the Suffolk population as a whole to pull together to see how much we can recycle, repair and reuse community equipment together during March.”
Rowan Procter, chief nurse at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Community equipment issued by your local NHS service is prescribed specifically for each patient. If you no longer need it please return it and help us help somebody else. Have a spring clean and use our amnesty in March to get rid of unwanted items. Whatever it is or whatever state items are in, they will all be assessed and safety tested, and either repaired and reused or stripped down to be recycled - great for our NHS and great for the environment.”
Lisa Nobes, chief nurse of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Return, reuse and recycle is a great message for all of us to remember and I really hope that everyone will back this amnesty. There will not be any questions asked when you return the equipment to any of the collection points across Suffolk in the coming month.”
NHS equipment can be returned to any of the Medequip locations listed below, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.00pm. As part of the month-long NHS equipment amnesty the Medequip sites will also open every Saturday 8.00am to 2.00pm.
Bury St Edmunds Depot
Unit 3 Bunting Road
Bury St Edmunds
Unit 1a, The Moor Business Park
Unit 31, Bluestem Road
For those unable to drop off at collection points, Medequip will collect items for free. Contact Medequip on 01473 351805 to arrange a suitable time for collection. The Medequip collection service is available long-term, alongside its weekly openings at its depots, and not only as part of the March amnesty.
For more information visit https://www.westsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/return-recycle-reuse/