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Too many walking frames used as clothes airers

I read your editorial ‘Waste not want not’ (Frontline Nov 21) with interest and thought I would let you know that in Cornwall we have ‘recycled’ equipment for a long time, either by arranging collection from the patient’s home or making it clear that they can bring items back to any of the community hospitals. 

Everything is then taken to our central loan stores, then cleaned and reused or sold for scrap value. I think an equipment ‘amnesty’ is still needed even here, as the number of kitchen trolleys I see in patient’s homes being used as bookcases and walking frames used as clothes 
airers beggars belief! I suspect that people think equipment is gifted to them and it is their right to keep it, so perhaps an education programme should be rolled out nationally? Although an interesting discussion point, I seriously doubt that the Australian system of deposits and hire fees would be acceptable to the public any time soon.

In my trust, returned wheelchairs are not usually part of the recycling arrangement, so we store them, and then donate to various charities. To date, we have sent 10 assorted wheelchairs to a project in the Gambia, and hope to send 10 more to a UK-based charity working in Syria. 

So much better than landfill.

  • Jane Lewis, physiotherapy assistant, Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust

Discarded wheelchairs get second life in Kenya 

As a CSP chartered physiotherapist I recently spent 10 days volunteering as a ‘seating expert’, distributing donated refurbished wheelchairs in Kenya.  This was through a church charity – Wheels for the World – along with 10 other volunteers who included technicians and other physiotherapist and occupational therapist colleagues. Obviously there were learning outcomes for me as a professional but I also learnt a lot about the volunteering process and how this can be supported by your employer at home.

  • Lucie Myall, senior physiotherapist Peartree House Rehabilitation Southampton.

Editor’s note: Find out more about Lucie’s fascinating work on the CSP website.

Science Museum speakers wanted

I recently finished my PhD in the early history of physiotherapy and I am now a research fellow at the Science Museum in London. 

This year I am hoping to organise a workshop and ‘late’ event at the museum relating to the history of physiotherapy and massage/exercise apparatus and would love to hear from CSP members who might want to be involved. 

I would be particularly interested in suggestions on how we might use any objects or artefacts to support teaching and physioeducation in some way.

Valuing frailty practitioners

It was great to see an article (Frontline 5 Dec) on frailty practitioner Helen Hunnisett. She discusses the advisory care plans for older people so they can provide an alternative to hospital. What she’s doing is extending her physiotherapy skills too.

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