Publish date: 3 July 2024

Therapy team photo 1.jpgDid you know that by returning walking aids you no longer need such as crutches, frames and walking sticks, you could have a positive impact on the environment and help your local NHS hospital save money?

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust have launched a new walking aid return and reuse scheme where items will be cleaned, checked, and reused for other patients in need of mobility support. They are encouraging their local communities to check those cupboards and under the stairs for any eligible unwanted equipment before returning it to their handy drop off points at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

To help raise awareness about the recycling points, stickers are also being added to walking aids being issued to help people find a location near to them where they can return them.

If just two out of every five walking aids were returned, we could save up to £46k per year and by reusing a refurbished walking aid, carbon emissions reduce on average by 98% when compared to using a new walking aid.

The drop-off points are located at Queen Alexandra Hospital in the main entrance, fracture clinic and entrance to the discharge lounge and can accept items including metal walking sticks, walking frames, and crutches. Visitors are asked to wipe down any items before bringing them to the hospital and can park for up to 20 minutes free in the main or north multi-storey car parks when dropping walking aids off.

Therapy team photo 2.jpgOur therapies team will check, clean, and repair (when appropriate) each item before it is reissued. If any items are found to not be safe for use again, they will be recycled through our waste management system and taken out of circulation.

Kerry Herriott-Brown, Therapy Clinical Lead for Orthopaedics, Surgery and Cancer Care, said, “It’s great that we can launch this scheme in Portsmouth and help re-use equipment by getting it to people who need it. As a Trust and a therapies team, we want to be more sustainable and if an item can be reused rather than ending up in landfill, then we have gone some way to achieving that.”

Trevor Mose, Head of Sustainability at PHU, said, “This latest initiative is one of the ways we are helping reduce our impact on the environment and reiterate our commitment to helping the NHS become the first net-zero carbon healthcare system. In 2022, we published PHU’s first Green Plan setting out the work we are doing to rise to this challenge and we hope our communities will continue to support us in achieving this.”