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Co-production in Action – Making It Easier to Return Community Equipment

Durham and Darlington Amnesty Bin Drop off point

For community equipment service providers like Medequip, it’s never been more important to ensure equipment like walking frames, commodes and perching stools are returned for recycling once they are no longer required. All too often, these items are left in attics or garages, with no clear route back into stock for reuse.

Medequip has been working closely on initiatives with Durham ICB, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Darlington Borough Council & Tees Valley ICB to increase the recycling and reuse rates by making it easy and convenient for people to return unwanted equipment, reducing costs and providing more sustainable solutions.

Last year, a series of successful ‘returns roadshows’ across the county saw thousands of pounds worth of forgotten equipment brought back into circulation. Promoted widely in the locality and held in supermarket car parks, these events saw many thousands of pieces of serviceable equipment returned by local people for cleaning and reuse.

This year, another important initiative is being scheduled which will see special bins placed in household waste recycling centres across the county. There are currently three sites already operational, with the locations clearly marked by Medequip banners and bin stickers. A map of the locations can be found here. Further sites will be added as the campaign progresses.

The initiative is being promoted via local press and social media links, and it is anticipated that the returns rate will rise correspondingly. “Co-Production has been a key process. Working together to achieve outcomes is the best way of delivering results! We now have a solution in making equipment returns easier for people using our service thanks to public engagement sessions and co-production groups.” Jonathan Gartland, Medequip Operations Manager, Newton Aycliffe.

Medequip already achieves excellent recycling rates across its community equipment services contracts. Although not every item is suitable for recycling, with single use items such as ventilators and continence aids, currently 77% of all equipment delivered by Medequip is successfully collected once it is no longer required. Of this 77%, 91% is successfully recycled; the remaining 9% consists of items considered no longer fit for purpose due to damage or excessive wear and tear. Here, Medequip has a policy of salvaging parts that can then be used to repair other items and return them to service.

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