AN equipment amnesty is being launched at Airedale Hospital.

Volunteers and staff begin the initiative on Thursday (Mar 21) in a bid to recover ‘lost’ wheelchairs and walking aids.

People who still have equipment from the Steeton hospital, which they no longer use, are urged to return it by April 30 – ‘no questions asked’.

“When wheelchairs or walking aids aren’t needed any more people sometimes just forget to return them – or if something’s broken they worry about returning it,” said Jo Sainty, physiotherapy manager at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

“But if items are broken we can often repair them, or take serviceable parts to maintain others.

“We are appealing for people to bring back anything they no longer use, to help ensure we have enough walking and mobility aids for future patients.”

Her message is echoed by Eileen Proud, president of the Friends of Airedale.

She added: “A wheelchair costs around £400 so even if just a few are returned, it all adds up.

“It also means we don’t have to spend our resources replacing items that could be gathering dust in people’s homes.

“We want to reassure people that we aren’t worried about how long the walking aids have been kept for.”

The charity has set-up two areas at the hospital – just inside the main entrance and in the outpatients department – where people can leave equipment.

Anyone without transport can call the Friends’ patient transport service on 01535 294626 to arrange collection.