After a phenomenal response in 2015, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is again appealing to local people to dig out their old crutches, walking sticks and frames.
Each year, tens of thousands of pounds are spent on new equipment when the walking aids gathering dust in peoples’ homes could be brought back to life for just a fraction of the cost.
New elbow crutches, which are often used following a leg or ankle injury, cost around £11 to buy new, whereas older pieces of kit can be restored by simply replacing the plastic grip at the end of each crutch for just 41 pence.
In the 12 months between January 2014 and January 2015, the Trust purchased nearly 700 pairs of new elbow crutches. But following last year’s appeal, which saw local people raid their attics and sheds for the now dusty reminders of their past injuries, the Physiotherapy Department has since been able to slash its order for crutches by 95 per cent.
Lisa Erwood, Physiotherapy Assistant, said: “We ordered just 10 pairs of crutches between August 2015 and January 2016, but in the six months before that we had to purchase 195 pairs.
“On crutches alone, we’ve been able to save nearly £2,000. That’s money we’ve been able to put back into our service, meaning we’ve been able to replace the old and outdated equipment in our patient rehabilitation gym.
“We were overwhelmed by the response to the appeal last summer and hope that as many people, if not more, get behind us again. What better reason could anyone need for clearing out their garage, shed or attic than supporting their local NHS hospital?”
All returned walking aids, regardless of their condition, will be given a thorough safety assessment by the Physiotherapy Team to see if they can be passed on to new patients.
People can return their sticks, frames and crutches to the Physiotherapy Department at the Great Western Hospital, or by leaving them in the drop-off bins in the hospital’s main reception area.
Alternatively, people in Wiltshire can take their old walking aids to any of the Trust’s community hospitals, where they will be collected and brought back to the Swindon-based team.
Stay up-to-date with the appeal’s progress through the Trust website and on Facebook and Twitter.