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Medical Equipment Recycling Scheme Proves Successful

A trial scheme to recycle old medical equipment in Wigan has seen people return 380 pieces of medical equipment in just three months.

To help ensure items like zimmer frames, crutches and wheelchairs are returned to the NHS where they can be reused, Wigan Council worked with FFC Environment to introduce collection points at each of its three recycling centres in the area.

Director for environment at Wigan Council Paul Barton explained that they wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to return these kinds of items when they no longer need them.

“Providing a collection point at our three recycling centres makes it easier for residents to bring their items in so that they can be put back into service for the good of the community,” he stated.

It’s estimated that recycling equipment such as this could save the NHS millions each year. The signs from the Wigan trial are positive and indicate that people will return unwanted medical equipment if they have collection points for it.

Earlier this year, the minister of state for health Steve Barclay called on NHS staff to accept used medical equipment, such as walking aids, to ensure as much as possible is reused, and that those items that are unsuitable for reuse are responsibly recycled.

The Wigan scheme follows in the footsteps of one identified by Mr Barclay at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust. It has been running a return scheme since last year, when 61 per cent of frames and 21 per cent of crutches were brought back by patients.

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