Appeal made by Trust to return unused community equipment

Staff at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) are urging local people to return their unused NHS community equipment, to support their local services in this pressured time.

The equipment in question includes items such as crutches, walking frames and hoists, specialised cushions and particularly beds and air/pressure mattresses. These items are sometimes issued to people in their own homes, or even into care homes to support people’s recovery and quality of life.

Laura Rawlings, contract manager for the community equipment and wheelchair services at WSFT, said: “We know people are generously wanting to support their local NHS services right now, and one really easy way to help us at the moment is to ensure any unused community equipment you have been issued by the NHS in your home is returned to us.”

NHS services lose thousands of pounds each year due to missing equipment, but it also impacts the environment; a lot of the discarded or neglected equipment can be reused and recycled after a comprehensive clean and safety check.

Laura continued: “The collections are completely free and all we need you to do is pick up the phone and let us know you have some NHS community equipment, and the Medequip team will sort the rest.”

Medequip, the company who supplies the community equipment for patients in their own home, has adapted their service to support the NHS as much as possible during the pandemic. This includes social-distanced collections, enhanced hygiene practices, and the use of appropriate PPE to keep you safe in your home.

Medequip’s business support manager, Michaela Harris, supports the initiative and said: “The safety of our service users and staff is absolutely paramount, but it’s essential that the NHS equipment is collected and delivered, even during this pandemic, in line with government guidance. The public can arrange with us to leave their equipment outside if possible, but if not our drivers ensure appropriate social-distancing during the collection, ensure that they hand sanitise before entering and after leaving properties, and have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) suitable for each situation.”

Kate Vaughton, chief officer at the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that previous campaigns calling for the return of unneeded equipment have been a big success and well supported by the public. People recognise it makes perfect sense for items to be returned so they can be recycled or reused. It is both good for the environment and helps us to make the best use of the NHS resources and reduce waste. I would like to encourage people to seek out items that they or a family member no longer needs, so that we can bring them back into the system to help others.”

If you have equipment that you are no longer using, please contact Medequip to arrange a free collection, via telephone on 01473 351805 (choose option 1), email suffolk@medequip-uk.com

Office hours are 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Pictured above are examples of some items of community equipment that you can return to Medequip.

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