The metal crutches cost £7.50 a pair which doesn’t seem a lot, but in the last financial year (April 2016 to the end of March 2017) 1296 of the 2224 pairs issued by A and E and plaster theatre were not returned, at a cost of £9720. And for the three years up until the end of March 2017 the total cost of unreturned crutches from those departments was £33,281.50p.
Senior Physiotherapist Nicola McAinsh, Principal Service Lead for Elective Care, said the crutches were clearly marked with a bright red sticker asking people to return them.
She said: “I don’t think people set out to keep them, but the crutches probably lie in the corner of a room at home for a while and then are probably either skipped or given to a charity shop. If the crutches are returned, we clean and check for any signs of damage, give them new ferrules and then they can be reused for other patients. The cost soon mounts up when they are not returned. ”
People who have crutches that are no longer needed can return them to the Physiotherapy Department at N block at the hospital, to A and E, or to Bolton One health centre in the town centre. Other walking aids such as Zimmer frames and metal sticks may also be returned. Most NHS hospitals will also accept crutches that have been issued elsewhere.