Return of scheme to give new life to used Wigan walking aids
Back in November 2018, Wigan Council’s waste and recycling partner FCC Environment started a trial to restore used but still useful medical equipment.
The trial saw some 380 items returned for re-use or recycling in just three months weighing in at a whopping 759kg of waste not sent for disposal.
For 2023, the scheme is back as part of a wider Wigan Council initiative to make best use of these costly items and avoid them going to waste.
For example, historically walking aids have been viewed as single patient use item and in many cases are disposed of once deemed as being no longer required by the patient.
But as part of the Greener NHS Strategy, NHS England has recently published some guidance to help support the NHS move away from this approach to enable the repeated re-use of these devices in order to reduce the environmental impact of the creation and disposal of walking aids.
Following the publication of the guidance, Wigan Council’s Integrated Community Equipment Service has worked to develop a refurbishment and recycling service for walking aids which will deliver the environment and financial benefits targeted within the NHS Guidance.
Under the new service Wigan Council’s Integrated Community Equipment Service will collect walking aids from designated collection points both within Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust and the wider community.
The walking aids will be taken back to Wigan Council’s Integrated Community Equipment Stores (ICES) depot located on Makerfield Way and will go through an initial inspection to check for issues prior to going through the decontamination and refurbishment process.
Any walking aid found to have an unrepairable fault will not be reprocessed and will instead be recycled within one of Wigan Council’s Recycling facilities.
Refurbished walking aids will then be available for delivery back to the Trust to be issued to new patients.
FCC Environment is able to accept items at any of the three Recycling Centres: Kirkless, Makerfield Way, Higher Ince, WN2 2PR, Slag Lane, Leigh, WA3 1BZ and Chanters Industrial Estate, Atherton, M46 9BP.