Physiotherapists save thousands with recycling mission

West Cumbria Physiotherapy services have been on a recent ‘recycling’ mission in order to save costs within their department. Their campaign has saved the NHS thousands of pounds.

The team, based in the West Cumberland Hospital, noticed that a significant amount of the walking aids such as zimmer frames, elbow crutches and the like were not always returned when patients no longer needed them.

Kathryn Mitchell, Clinical Lead Physiotherapist at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) explained “A significant amount of non-pay budget is spent on walking aid equipment in the Trust largely down to a decline in the number of aids returned.

In order to both reduce budget spend and improve appropriate ‘recycling’ of walking aids, all care homes within Copeland and Allerdale were contacted and asked to return any unused or unwanted equipment. We were able to retrieve and re-use many unwanted walking aids. These homes now have contact details of their local physiotherapy department should they have any more unused equipment to return in the future.”

The campaign even took to social media to raise awareness within the community as well. 

Fiona Temple, Specialist Physiotherapist at CPFT said “I decided to launch an appeal using social media to create more awareness on returning walking aid equipment. We received a very positive response and a large amount of equipment has been returned due to this, which is fantastic to see.’

Both of the above actions, as well as changing equipment suppliers, have led to a significant budget saving of over £4,000 and also an increased awareness of recycling of walking aids.

 Kathryn Mitchell said ‘As a team we are thrilled with the response we have had from people returning equipment and hope, due to more individuals being aware of this, we can continue to save our budget costs and recycle more equipment.’

Should anyone have any unwanted walking aids, please return to your local Physiotherapy department, between the hours of 9am and 4pm. Any queries please contact the Physiotherapy department at the West Cumberland Hospital on 01946 523636


Photo L-R: Kim Ostridge, Sarah Inglesfield, Stuart Nicholson, Fiona Temple, Becky Glasson, Denise Carton, Al HarkeR, Hilary Thompson, James Horner and Laura McLaughlin