Finding a home for unused medical supplies

maybe-you-can-helpWhat to do with all of those unwanted medical supplies? The pack of 6 with just 2 used; the unused gauzes or tubing sets; the spare syringes and needles?

Even items packed singly may be opened ‘just in case’ and discarded unused, but these items may be suitable for reuse if reprocessing is available and adequate. Used surgical instruments, even those intended for single use only can and are reprocessed for use. For those squeamish about such things, this happens not only ‘to dump our waste’ on the third world, but as a useful humanitarian endeavour. And, of course, repossessing of many single use items, mainly single use surgical instruments, is undertaken for UK use. Though the uncertain regulatory situation has caused some Trusts to back away from this many continue quite successfully, testament perhaps to the standard of manufacture of these instruments that can be used several times over.

Waste & Recycling News highlights a US operation, Medshare, which is one of the largest medical surplus redistributors that in its last fiscal year collected 550 tons of surplus medical supplies and redistributed them to hospitals in developing countries, medical mission teams and free clinics in the U.S. Founded in 1998, the non-profit organization currently operates two volunteer and distribution centres, one in San Leandro, Calif., and the other near Atlanta, Ga., that together work with more than 80 hospitals to recover surplus supplies and equipment.

Medshare is but one of many organisations helping healthcare establishments reduce their waste and waste-related costs, and providing essential resources for those in greater need. In the UK, we have our own InterCare and other organisations doing the same thing.

Mostly operating as a charitable operation – and always in the UK – these organisations provide an absolutely valuable service to those with lesser access to healthcare that we enjoy.

Perhaps you can help them, promoting salvage for re-use among your customer base and offering captured items – surgical instruments are particularly suitable – for reprocessing and reuse?





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