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Medical device reuse trial saves NHS money

A three-months trial scheme in Wigan has seen nearly 380 items of medical equipment returned for reuse or recycling, totaling 759kg.

Wigan Council and recycling contractor FCC Environment launched the initiative to collect equipment as the NHS is thought to lose large sums each year from items such as Zimmer frames, walking sticks, crutches and wheelchairs that are still serviceable but are not returned by users.

FCC Environment contract manager Barry Elder said: “The items collected to date are all going for reuse. It is great to know that they will have a new life, saving the council and NHS money and reducing the amount of material going to waste.”

Wigan said there were normally only 10 pairs of crutches returned for every 50 issued at some NHS trusts, with the cost being £17 per pair. This meant the NHS spent some £3m a year on crutches.

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