Trial to give a meaningful new life to used medical equipment hailed a success

20 Nov 2018 13:40

Trial to give a meaningful new life to used medical equipment hailed a success

A trial scheme in Wigan to give a meaningful new life to used but still useful medical equipment has seen nearly 380 items returned for re-use or recycling in just three months weighing in at a whopping 759 kg.

It is estimated that the NHS could be losing millions because patients don't return medical equipment like crutches so Wigan Council and FCC Environment, which operates the Borough’s three recycling centres at Kirkless, Slag Lane and Chanters Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC’s) are championing a new initiative to collect, for re-use, unwanted medical equipment.

FCC Environment has had a collection point at each of the three recycling centres for the collection of unwanted yet serviceable walking frames, Zimmer frames, walking sticks, crutches wheelchairs etc and residents are being encouraged to bring these items in so they can be recycled for someone else to use.

“In the last few weeks alone we have seen a range of items, from walking frames to crutches come in“ commented FCC Environment Contract Manager Barry Elder. “The items collected to date are all going on for re-use it’s great to know that they will go on to have a new life saving the Council and NHS money and reducing the amount of material going to waste.”

Paul Barton, director for environment at Wigan Council, said: “Many people are discharged from hospital with equipment that is designed to support their recovery or make their lives a little easier but when that equipment is no longer needed, we wanted to do what we could to bring those items back into serviceable use. 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. We would encourage residents with these items to bring them in to us as part of The Deal and help us to recycle more, recycle right.”

Costly crutches | £3m a year is spent on walking aids
10 - Number of pairs of crutches returned for every 50 issued at some NHS trusts
£17 - Cost of a standard pair of crutches
£3 million - Estimated NHS spend on crutches annually
2500 - Number of crutches issued by one NHS hospital per year
870 - Number of walking frames issued by one NHS hospital per year
Source: estimates from Department of Health and NHS trusts

Visit your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre:
Kirkless, Makerfield Way, Higher Ince, WN2 2PR Slag Lane, Leigh, WA3 1BZ Chanters Industrial Estate, Atherton, M46 9FF

Please check the wide range of items that can be recycled before attending site, log on to for more information.

Opening hours, inc Bank Holidays:
Summer - everyday, 8am to 7:45pm (from last Sunday in March)
Winter - everyday, 9am to 5:45pm (from last Sunday in October)

Cars with or without a single axle trailer are accepted. Vans, pick-ups under 3.5 tonnes and twin-axle trailers require a permit. If using a hire vehicles. Please take hire documents and waste permit with you when visiting the centre. All sites have a 2m height restriction and 5mph speed limit.

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