For crutch sake! Trust appeals for return of old and unused walking aids

Posted: July 20, 2015

Bring your crutches, walking frames and sticks to GWH

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched an amnesty for the return of old, unused and damaged walking aids which can potentially be repaired and passed on to new patients. 

The Trust spent around £35,000 on new walking aids last year and with the cost of repair significantly lower than buying a whole new item, the Trust is encouraging people to dig out the walking devices they no longer use. 

Helping to reduce costs

A single pair of elbow crutches, which are often given to patients with leg injuries, costs the Trust £11.05 to buy whereas the cost of replacing the ferrule, the small gripping piece of plastic at the bottom of each crutch, is just 41p. 

To purchase 10 pairs of new crutches would cost the Trust £110.50. However, if 10 pairs of used crutches were returned, the ferrules could be replaced for £8.20, a saving of more than £100.

Nearly 700 pairs of elbow crutches were supplied to patients between January 2014 and January 2015.

Essential but expensive

Karen Hawkins, Superintendent Physiotherapist, said: "Crutches, along with other walking aids, are an essential, but often expensive, resource within the NHS. 

"The more people who forget to return their crutches, frames and sticks, the more new products we have to buy. This is why we're sending this appeal. 

"No matter what condition your unused and unwanted walking aids are in, we will be able to give them a thorough safety check and assess whether they can be reused or repaired, and then reused. 

"This is just one example of one team using its initiative to bring down costs but I know there are other teams in our Trust who are doing the same sort of thing in their own area. It's inspiring to see so many people working together to make a change." 

Anyone with an old, damaged or unused walking aid is urged to return it to the Physiotherapy Outpatients department, which is based on the ground floor at the Great Western Hospital. 

People can stay up-to-date with the amnesty's progress by following the Trust on Twitter (@GWH_NHS) and by using #ForCrutchSake in their tweets. 

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