Walking aid recycling scheme saves NHS Forth Valley £6500
NHS Forth Valley has saved £6500 courtesy of a walking aid recycling scheme developed by two specialist physiotherapists.
The innovative skills of Nicola Blair and Aileen Kelly have led to 846 such devices being returned to the local health board in the past seven months.
Nicola and Aileen identified there was no clear pathway for patients to hand back walking aids once they no longer required them.
It proved frustrating for patients, their families and NHS staff, with walking aids frequently discarded in clinical areas, causing clutter, congestion and, in some cases, a health and safety risk.
Many others ended up in landfill sites, adding to the burden of waste.
By working in partnership with the Joint Loan Equipment Service (JLES), Falkirk Council and its network of recycling centres, a number of new drop-off points were created where patients could leave walking aids they no longer required for recycling.
Items returned have included Zimmer frames, pulpit walkers, gutter frames, elbow crutches and walking sticks.
JLES then organise the collection, safety inspection, decontamination, refurbishment and return of suitable walking aids via NHS FV’s Central Services Department so they can be safely reused for other patients.
The initiative, which was set up initially in Falkirk, saved NHS FV from having to fork out the four-figure sum on replacements.
Its success has resulted in the scheme being rolled out to Stirling and there are plans to extend it to Clackmannanshire.
Additionally, the recycling efforts have avoided an environmental impact of 5260kg of carbon dioxide emissions.
Nicola, a highly specialist physiotherapist, said: “We really appreciate the support of colleagues in local councils who have helped us get this recycling scheme off the ground.
“It’s great to see so many walking aids being returned and reused as this not only avoids waste but also helps save much-needed NHS funds.”
Councillor Paul Garner, the council’s environment spokesman, said: “This is an excellent scheme and we were more than happy to help out for such a worthwhile cause.
“Thanks to the staff at our recycling centres for their help and support in making this scheme a success which is now set to be rolled out across the Forth Valley area.”
The recycling centres supporting the walking aid recycling project in Falkirk are: Kinneil Kerse, Roughmute and JLES.