A LEEDS medical centre is to feature on television after joining a national campaign calling for people to return equipment borrowed from hospitals.
BBC One’s The One Show is running a Crutch Amnesty to combat the problem of patients failing to give back medical kit such as crutches and wheelchairs.
Latest figures show the issue cost the NHS £14m last year and so the programme decided to start a campaign to raise awareness.
Two films have been shown so far and one was seen by Liz Scott, practice manager at Arthington Medical Centre in Hunslet, Leeds.
She decided to start her own drive to collect medical equipment at the surgery and yesterday, a team from the One Show filmed at the centre for a segment being broadcast next week.
Liz said it was a “huge” problem. “In 2012, Leeds Teaching Hospitals spent £100,000 on crutches. They held an amnesty that year and got 120 pairs back.
“It’s just dead money because people are taking things and not giving them back.”
She added that sometimes it was difficult for patients to return equipment like crutches, zimmer frames or leg braces to hospitals so they wanted to make it as easy as possible.
“We are collecting equipment on behalf of the hospitals and then either the Leeds Equipment Service will collect it and take it back, or I will drive it up there,” she added.
Anyone can drop off small, portable medical equipment items at the centre on Moor Road.
Hundreds of people have contacted The One Show after its Crutch Amnesty was started.
Presenter Kevin Duala said over 500 emails on were received when the first film on the campaign was aired last year.
The problem could cost NHS trusts large amounts of money, as crutches could cost organisations up to £25 a pair.
He added that he was delighted the Leeds centre were running their own collection drive. “It’s really inspiring to me and it makes me think that if even half of the GP practices nationally did this, just think of the money which could be saved.”
* Arthington Medical Centre is due to feature on the One Show next Wednesday, at 7pm.