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More Medical Equipment To Be Reused In The NHS

Steve Barclay, minister of state for health, has called on staff in the NHS to accept used medical equipment from patients and to ensure that it is reused where possible, or recycled if it can’t be put back into service.

Among the medical equipment being targeted in this drive are wheelchairs and crutches, which are often left unused in people’s homes, or thrown away when they’re no longer needed.

The drive is part of a wider plan to reduce the NHS’ carbon footprint, as well as to make the health service greener. Where medical equipment can’t be reused by the NHS it will be donated to charity, the government added.

Mr Barclay noted that there are some great examples of hospitals taking the lead with this kind of programme already, but stressed that it needs to happen more widely.

“It is not only the kind of creativity and common sense the public wants to see from the NHS, but will also help ensure equipment is used in an environmentally friendly way and that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely,” he stated.

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust was one singled out for the good work it’s already doing in this area. It operates a scheme to encourage the return of crutches and walking frames. Last year, 61 per cent of frames and 21 per cent of crutches were returned and put back into use.

Last month, the Evening Standard highlighted how new medical technology could help revolutionise healthcare. It pointed out that the UK is well placed to take advantage of the medtech revolution, due to the number of such companies based in the country.

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