Equipment issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to aid rehabilitation and reablement must be returned and reused wherever possible.
Many items are never returned as people often aren’t aware they remain the property of the DHSC or don’t know how to return them.
The Department regularly receives reports from the public about items being disposed of at the Island’s civic amenity sites and given away to charity shops – and there have even been instances when items have been put up for sale on social media.
Staff at the Integrated Equipment Loan Store in Braddan want to raise awareness of the work they do and how people across the Island can play their part in helping the DHSC save money.
The store in Kirby Farm Industrial Estate is open five days a week – Monday to Thursday 8am to 4pm and Friday 8am to 3pm – and acts as a hub for the collection and distribution of a huge range of equipment, from crutches and wheelchairs to adjustable electric beds and hoists.
Staff undertake cleaning and refurbishment of many returned items on-site, allowing them to be made available for reuse.
The store holds a large reserve stock at all times and is seen as playing a key role in fulfilling an aim contained within the Programme for Government to enable people to stay well in their own homes and communities, avoiding hospital and residential care wherever possible.
Equipment is supplied to patients when they are about to leave hospital, and senior nursing staff make a request to the service for items to be made available to support continuing nursing care in the home, rehabilitation or reablement.
An occupational therapist may then assess the patient’s home, checking for things such as the availability of plug points or the need to move furniture.
Occupational therapy manager, Niamh Kelly is leading a project to help streamline the equipment loan service and to ensure clinical effectiveness is at the core of every decision made with regard to people accessing the correct equipment for their needs. Encouraging people to return existing equipment which can then be reused is another vital part of her role.
‘All equipment is labelled and should be returned to the service for assessment as it can often be recycled if it’s not possible to be cleaned and restored ready to be used again.
‘Items remain the property of the DHSC, even though they’ve been used, and it’s essential that patients play their part in helping us to save money. Charity shop volunteers, staff at civic amenity sites and anyone undertaking house clearances should also be vigilant in identifying DHSC property, and calling the team on 693553 to arrange for collection.
‘We are always looking at ways to improve our service and encourage feedback on the service we provide – please get in touch by calling in at our Braddan base or phoning 693553 with suggestions.’
Equipment should be returned for assessment by staff at the store in the following ways:
- Drop off at the main Integrated Equipment Loan Store, Kirby Farm Industrial Estate in Braddan or regional equipment returns stores at Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital and Thie Rosien, near Southlands Resource Centre, Port Erin
- Call 693553 to arrange for collection by service staff
Recycling can involve equipment being stripped for parts or dismantled and separated – and it can also lead to old and unwanted wheelchairs being sent to developing countries after being renovated by prisoners in the UK as part of the PhysioNet charitable initiative.
Pam Kerruish co-ordinates a supply of wheelchairs from the Island, with the support of the DHSC and Mezeron.
‘When I worked in Tajikistan some years ago, the disabled children I worked with were able to use recycled wheelchairs from the UK. Wheelchairs were almost impossible to source inside the country so it was like receiving a gift from the Gods when they arrived – they really transform the lives of the children.’
Jimmy Cosgrove and Rachael Edwards load up the van ready for the day's deliveries