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NHS Equipment For Sale At Cornish Car Boots

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4:13pm 16th September 2014
(Updated 4:13pm 16th September 2014)

Pirate FM has learnt NHS equipment is being sold off at Cornish car boot sales.

We have been contacted by several people who have spotted things like crutches and zimmer frames on stalls.

They are worried it is draining hospitals of resources - just when cuts are biting hardest.

Julie from Germoe said she was horrified by what she saw: "What shocked me, there were two boxes on two separate stalls, one selling incontinence pads, which still had the patient's name on the box, and somebody else selling gloves.

"The knock on effect is the cost to the NHS. The NHS is, financially, in a massive defecit. These people feel they can sell on the equipment, which actually doesn't belong to them."

Healthwatch Cornwall was not aware of NHS items being sold at car boots in Cornwall. However, this coverage is a great opportunity to remind anyone who borrows NHS equipment to return it  when they have recovered.

A spokesperson for NHS Kernow told Pirate FM: "Cornwall Council and NHS work in partnership to provide Community Equipment in Cornwall.
"From time to time it does come to our attention that items of equipment are being sold at car boots etc.

"Where we are given detailed information we will act upon it. Sometimes people do not realise that they should not be selling these items of equipment despite the labelling. The labels themselves have a very strong adhesive, are waterproof and clearly state that they belong to the Council and give the number to phone for collection.

"In addition when a person receives equipment they sign to say they understand it is the Council's equipment alongside the number to phone for collection.

"Cornwall has one of the best recycling records in the country with over £2million worth of the equipment delivered in the first four months of this financial year, being recycled.

"However we are always looking for ways to improve this and therefore ask anyone who has community equipment they no longer require to contact our community equipment store on  01208 269716."

A spokesperson for Healthwatch Cornwall added: "This isn't a local issue as in August this year the Isles of Wight NHS said that for every 50 pairs of crutches issued only 10 are returned. Just less than 8,000 pairs were still missing and £10,000 had been spent on new crutches in the past year. They added that money wasted could be spent on other services and called for a return of items.  
"Healthwatch Cornwall knows that the NHS locally would be grateful for the return of equipment and recommends that people do not try to sell these items at car boots but instead takes them to any of the health care settings already mentioned. By doing so it will help money saved go towards treatment and other services."

4:13pm 16th September 2014

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