It seems that most of the weekend’s national newspapers ran a story of NHS Trusts wasting valuable resources such as bedside tables, crutches, Zimmer frames and other walkers, wheelchairs, commodes etc, that were too much trouble to service and re-use.
Discarding these at the expense of new purchases, the predictable excludes were the difficulty in servicing to make certain that equipment was safe for re-use, and a risk of infection.
Clearly, liability for defective equipment is an important consideration but not one that is insurmountable or necessarily costly.
As for the risk of infection, that is simply ridiculous. In one report, Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospital NHS Trust in Essex said it would not reuse any crutches, walking sticks or walking frames ‘as infections could be passed on and it is also difficult to check for signs of damage’. The Trust’s Chief Executive and infection control team should hang their heads in shame, and in the latter case strongly consider their professional future.
The NHS is desperately short of funds. This wasteful approach does not help and those responsible must be made to answer for their use of public funds. There are plenty of companies providing effective cleaning and repair services for equipment of this kind, that operate more cheaply and often more effectively that in-house cleaning by junior nurses and healthcare assistants etc.
This casual approach to simple housekeeping wastes NHS resources, and your taxes.