DEVON residents, who have been loaned community equipment that they no longer need such as walking frames, are being urged to take advantage of the final week of an equipment ‘amnesty’ and to arrange for it to be collected, free of charge.

Every month, around 5000 items of equipment are returned, more than 80 per cent of which are refurbished, sterilised and then put back onto warehouse shelves ready for reuse.

And almost 70 per cent of the equipment collected and refurbished in this way is reissued within a month to someone in the community.

Returning these items not only reduces how long people who need them have to wait it also saves on having to buy new equipment – it saves up to £100,000 a month which could then be spent on other things.

However, there are hundreds of pieces of community equipment, such as four-wheeled walking frames, toileting equipment, hospital beds, clinical mattresses, pressure cushions and hoists that are not being used, sitting in garages, and in storage for instance.

So, Devon County Council, NHS Devon CCG and Millbrook Healthcare Ltd, which provides community equipment to people on their behalf, launched an equipment ‘amnesty’ last month, asking those who no longer need their community equipment, to organise a collection free of charge.

The previous amnesty in 2021 resulted in hundreds of items being returned, refurbished, sterilised and put back into use in the community.

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for integrated adult social care and health, said: 'We were delighted by the response at the last amnesty.

'The more items that are returned the less time people in the community will have to wait for items to help them live independently.'

This amnesty is now in its final week and will run until Monday, February 5.

People should call 03301248214 to arrange a collection.

Wheelchairs, however, are not part of the amnesty, because these are not provided by the community equipment service Millbrook delivers.

Collection of the equipment from people’s homes is free, and Millbrook staff will collect the items from the property.