A pioneering scheme which allows disused medical and care equipment to be given a new lease of life has been extended.
Durham County Council teamed up with Medequip and HW Martin for the initiative which allows people to bring equipment they no longer use to three of the local authority’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) for possible reuse.
The project has been developed by Medequip and the local authority, with support from councillors.
Initially a pilot scheme, the partners have now extended the project to a further three sites, such has been its success in the months since it launched in the spring.
Cllr Chris Hood, the council’s cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “We greatly value our joint working with our health partners through the County Durham Care Partnership and we know there is great cost in the provision of new medical and care equipment for people.
“This scheme thereby helps reduce that cost by allowing equipment to be reused wherever possible.”
Cllr Mark Wilkes, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, added: “We are delighted that we are able to support this initiative through hosting these new facilities at our Household Waste Recycling Centres.
“Any scheme that allows materials to be reused rather than go to waste has to be good for the environment and we are pleased to be rolling it out at three more of our sites.
“This project is a great example of what can be achieved when officers and councillors from different parts of the authority work together and with our partner organisations.”
Up until now, the scheme has operated at Coxhoe, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Horden HWRCs, which are run for the council by HW Martin.
And such has been the success of the initiative, it is now being rolled out at Potterhouse Lane at Pity Me, Seaham and Romanway at Bishop Auckland HWRCs.
The scheme could be rolled out at more of the council’s recycling centres in future.
People are able to leave unused medical and care equipment, such as walking frames, crutches and aids to help people sit in the bath, in amnesty bins.
These items are then collected by Medequip, which loans medical and care equipment to people, and the hope is that some of them will be suitable for reuse.
Kim Noble, clinical equipment advisor at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a great example of integrated working between Durham County Council, our trust and Medequip.
“At County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust we are committed to avoiding waste and promoting sustainability across all we do and reusing equipment is also a cost-effective use of our resource.
“The equipment that is returned is thoroughly cleaned and can be re-issued to others in need, reducing the cost and carbon impact of social and NHS care.”
Medequip is commissioned by the North East and North Cumbria ICB, in partnership with Durham County Council, to supply medical and care equipment to those who need it.
• Pictured above: Cllrs Mark Wilkes (second from left) and Chris Hood (centre) with representatives of HW Martin, Medequip and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.