NHS Tayside has declared a “walking aid amnesty” to ensure that patients return all walking aid items that they no longer require.
This comes after a Brechin GP was handed crutches on several occasions which had be retrieved from skips at recycling centre on Commerce Street, an act which costs the NHS to replace the lost equipment.
It is money which could be better used to fund operations.
GP Simon Frost explained: “I try to recycle as much as I can.
“Regularly when at the ‘skips’ in Commercial Street, James Sherrit produces a haul of discarded crutches, that he has ‘rescued’ from the skips, arguing that they could indeed be recycled!
“People when at Stracathro or at any of the Minor Injury Units are asked to return their crutches.
“At least five people on this occasion have preferred to throw them away instead of returning them! It beggars belief really.
“No wonder we scrape around for money in the public services.
“I am not sure what the value of a pair of crutches will be, but it cannot be less than about £20.
“There are about ten thousand people in the Brechin area with five pairs of crutches being thrown away over about two months.
“Angus has a population is one hundred thousand population, so that would work out at about 50 pairs of crutches being discarded at the skips, working out at about £1000 which has just been thrown away.
“That could have funded an operation or several operations, all in a relatively short space of time.”
NHS Tayside has reminded people that all walking aids are loaned to patients and should be returned when the patient no longer has a need for them.
A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “Physiotherapy departments across Angus are encouraging people to return walking aid items that they no longer need and have put a call out for all walking aids to be returned.
“Walking aid equipment is only on loan to patients to use during recovery following surgery, illness or accidents.
“Since the beginning of this year physiotherapy departments across NHS Tayside have issued thousands of zimmer frames, walking sticks, sets of crutches and various specialised walking aids.
“Unfortunately, not all of these are returned to us so we would like to give people a reminder to hand these back.
“Walking aids that are no longer required can be handed in to your local physiotherapy department, community hospital or GP surgery.”