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NHS equipment 'amnesty'.

(23 Posts)
Willow10 Sat 13-Oct-18 09:59:09

I heard on the news this morning that the NHS are having an ' amnesty' on the return of crutches, walking sticks etc. because apparently they have just realised that it is costing millions annually to supply them. It's not so long ago that there was a tv programme about this very subject, showing skips full of equipment that the private companies supplying them had disposed of.

When I had my hip replacement two years ago, I was only too pleased to return my walking sticks on my final hospital visit - I couldn't wait to see the back of them! But I was told to keep them as they didn't have the equipment to clean them, so always provided new to each patient. When I showed suprise at this and I said I didn't want them, the receptionist suggested I took them to landfill! I wasn't going to do that, so I accidently 'forgot' to pick them up after my appointment.

Now it seems they do have the facilities to clean them - how much money has been wasted before some bright spark decided to call an 'amnesty' - which suggests it is the patients fault that equipment has not been returned? I'm sure this is the case with things like wheelchairs, but even so, I think the blame lies with NHS managers, not the patients if they suddenly find they are so short of money. To call it an amnesty is insulting.

fourormore Sat 13-Oct-18 11:53:44

Here! Here! Willow
We had loads of equipment when my Mum died and none of it was accepted back - again due to not having the facilities to deep clean them!
We gave several bits to a local care home who were more than happy to spend a bit of time cleaning them as they weren't dirty anyway!
The remaining bits we moved on via Freecycle but as you say the 'management' is to blame for this extortionate waste.
Mum died in 2008 so this is not new - how many millions of pounds worth of equipment has been lost!

silverlining48 Sat 13-Oct-18 11:56:38

We have just been talking about this on the previous post willow and four. It’s a shocking unnecessary waste.

MissAdventure Sat 13-Oct-18 11:56:45

Same for me when my mum died.
Absolutely ridiculous that they won't accept back walking frames and so on.
We were told to throw mums away.

KatyK Sat 13-Oct-18 12:09:35

My sister had an operation on her foot and when she tried to return the crutches, she was told to keep them.

stree Sat 13-Oct-18 12:27:18

I agree with the comment by Willow10 about the misleading announcement that it was an Amnesty, inferring that greedy and lazy patients had hung on to and failed to return equipment.
Nearer the truth would be that for all its complexities the NHS had nothing set up to take back equipment, clean, repair, upgrade etc so when asked, staff had no where to refer patients or their families to hand it in.
This has gone on for decades, costing untold amounts of money.
More worryingly, for such a commonsense and relatively simple piece of asset management to be deemed unworthy of attention, what else goes on that we never get to hear about?
What other inefficiencies and neglected areas of simple economising could save us huge sums? We are all aware of the ridiculous cost of drugs and medicines purchased by the NHS as one other example.
No public service or industry will ever have enough money to function properly if its finances are not administrated properly.

Charleygirl5 Sat 13-Oct-18 12:28:57

In my garden shed I have 2 sets of crutches, a Zimmer walking frame, a moveable object to help me get on and off the loo, and a commode. In my kitchen I have a very nifty trolley which is going nowhere. I am keeping them because I know I will need them sooner rather than later.

Witzend Sat 13-Oct-18 12:30:17

A friend had various bits of equipment - walking aids etc, - left after her husband died. On trying to return them to the NHS, she was told just to get rid of them.
I found it shocking then, and still do.

What do they mean by an 'amnesty' anyway? Amnesties are for illegal items you're not supposed to have, like guns and the sort of knives nobody needs for non-violent purposes.

Various friends/relatives who work or have worked for the NHS have often mentioned the vast amount of waste that goes on, not to mention the pilfering.

gillybob Sat 13-Oct-18 12:39:32

I can report similar in the last couple of years when my grandma and mum died. My mum had a hospital bed with special mattress at home which they were quick to pick up ( quite rightly) but they didn’t want any of the rest . Loo seats, walking aids, shower chair, sticks, trolley etc. As none of us have a garage or storage sadly it all went to the recycling village where you leave stuff in the hope that someobe might pick it up to use . I guess after a time it would be scrapped.

mcem Sat 13-Oct-18 12:42:17

My high loo seat fitting and my walking frame were collected as soon as I no longer needed them. One phone call to occupational therapy was all it took.
I still have occasional very tired days so still have the walking stick but look forward to handing that back too!

GrandmaMoira Sat 13-Oct-18 12:48:48

In my area equipment is always collected but it is complicated as some things may come through the District Nurse, others from Social Services and the Wheelchair Service is separate. Wheelchairs are always collected and refurbished, as are hospital beds. Some cheaper items such as crutches and walking frames are not re-used as it would cost more than the item is worth to check that they are still okay. If a new patient had an accident due to a weakened frame breaking, the NHS could be sued.

Witzend Sat 13-Oct-18 15:22:14

Just now on the BBC news this item was being largely presented as if people were hanging on to things which they should have given back.
Very irritating, when so many people who have tried to return things have been told not to bother.

LullyDully Sat 13-Oct-18 16:11:29

Me too.
" No keep your crutches as they may not be safe anymore. "
Did think it was a bit extravagant in light of financial problems in the NHS. Will try again, maybe the Red Cross.

Willow10 Sat 13-Oct-18 16:32:47

Iv'e read all your responses and I'm glad it's not just me! I felt really incensed about it when I heard how they were putting it across on the news. But easier to blame the patients I suppose, rather than incompetent management.

Alima Sat 13-Oct-18 16:50:11

DH was able to return his crutches after a hip op last year. They even lent him a raised toilet seat which they had back. If they can sterilise those they can cope with anything.

Grannynise Sat 13-Oct-18 22:14:04

My local private hospital sends returned walking aids to overseas hospitals to be reused. Evidently this is at the request of patients.

aggie Sat 13-Oct-18 22:33:53

before I retired 20+ years ago we reused crutches and walking frames , being of sturdy build , if I could lean on them and feel no creaks or cracks I replaced the rubber feet and used them for the next patient . I couldn't believe my ears when told not to return crutches and two different Zimmer's after cracking my ankle a few years ago , I was given crutches after my hip op , tried to refuse them (knew I had some at home ) but wasn't allowed to go without . After OH died we managed to get them to take the Kurten chair , bed , wheelchair ,hoist and sneaked a few bits and pieces into the van . We were left with various commodes ,Zimmer's and other aids which we gave to a local care home . It was most distressing to open the garage and see things we had used with OH lying about and we were glad to see the back of them . Later we found a bag of footpieces and a charger for the hoist , but no one would collect them . ....... then there was the months supply of incontinence pads unopened ! but they had to be given under the counter to another care home in case they were found out !

Diana54 Sun 14-Oct-18 09:16:02

Recycling aids is a good idea no doubt but reusing does not come for free, everything has to be returned, checked, cleaned, put into storage then retrieved as needed all that takes time and space. The "amnesty " has been issued and that's what will happen let's hope it does save money, it seems a shame to put them in the recycling bin.

Blinko Sun 14-Oct-18 09:25:52

It is counter intuitive that a supposedly cash strapped nhs in effect gives away vast quantities of reusable items because it cba to implement a recycling system. It's no good having an 'amnesty' for the crutches I tried to hand back a few years ago after a toe joint op.

(Oops they call them 'procedures' now, don't they?)

glammanana Sun 14-Oct-18 13:47:28

I have often witnessed the van that comes to empty out the flats/bungalows left vacant when an older persons moves out or dies the men doing the removal pile all items into the back and take to the local tip for disposal such a terrible waste of money imo.

Wheniwasyourage Wed 23-Jan-19 16:59:43

Having heard so many stories about walking aids being refused by the NHS, I was recently returning a no-longer-needed zimmer frame, and was all set to take it to the hospital reception desk and then do a runner with DH outside with the car engine running. However, all the receptionist did was ask if I knew which department had issued it, and she took it back without any problem. Result!! sunshine

I quite agree with all those who are annoyed at the idea of an "amnesty" when people have been trying so hard to return things. The cheek of it!!!

Auntieflo Wed 23-Jan-19 17:37:16

I had a replacement knee op, 3 years ago, and was issued with two sticks. I had heard of the hospitals not wanting equipment returned, so realising that I will very probably need the other knee done, I have held on to the sticks, and will use them then. If allowed!

BlueBelle Wed 23-Jan-19 17:46:33

I workn a charity shop and we often get the nhs walking frames crutches even wheelchairs with the nhs sticker on brought in We have rung the private company that are now collecting them back numerous times to ask for them to collect them and so far reached a total dead end they either don’t answer calls don’t ring back or don’t make any arrangements to collect it’s becoming a nightmare as we have no extra storage space