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Ribble Valley scheme helps mobility aids to get on the move
A MOUNTAIN of redundant medical equipment is to be re-used in a new scheme being launched in the Ribble Valley.
Under recent NHS rules, mobility aids and equipment, such as crutches, walking frames, and wheelchairs, cannot be returned once used.
Administration costs have been blamed for the situation, which has left people needing to dispose of equipment after it has been used.
Rather than allow the items to be thrown away, Clitheroe disability activist Simon O’Rourke has been asking people to donate their equipment, which can then be recycled by others. He has so far filled three stockrooms.
Mr O’Rourke, 39, who is in a wheelchair after an accident 10 years ago, said: “What used to happen was that when you finished with the equipment, it was picked up and cleaned and put back into the system. Now that’s all changed. If you break your leg, or do something more minor, you might only need a piece of equipment for a couple of weeks, and nobody knows what they’re meant to do with it after that.
“I was thinking about how wasteful it is to throw decent equipment away. At first I thought a charity could collect it and sell it back into the system, but that’s not allowed. I’ve been told the cost to the NHS would be too much.
“Now I’ve decided to get a website together to advertise the equipment once it has been cleaned up and is ready for re-use.”
When the website is running, people will be able to view equipment on offer, and order it for a donation to charity.
Mr Rourke, who runs Clitheroe’s Shopmobility store, said: “Pride is the biggest thing and what stands in the way of people getting the equipment. Everyone is entitled to equipment from the NHS, but they don’t want to admit they have a problem.
“The website will help people in this position, and will also be of great use to people with family members who might need items, such as a commode or a wheelchair, but feel unable to easily transport them to other people’s houses.”
For more information on the scheme, call Mr O’Rourke on 01200 425028.