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Reusing medical equipment is the right remedy

There has been an upsurge in discarding hospital textile and fabric-covered chairs and soft furnishings, with many health organisations opting to use wipeable furniture that more easily meets infection control policies and procedures.

Medical and clinical waste also soared significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report.

This, along with the ongoing climate crisis, shows there is a clear need for safe, robust, resilient, and circular systems to minimise the health sector’s impact on the environment.

Reusing medical equipment that has been decontaminated, cleaned, and disinfected in line with infection control policies and procedures is a proven way to cut waste and emissions, make best use of resources, and eliminate replacement costs.

Already, NHS Trusts working with Warp It to redistribute unwanted medical furniture and equipment, including beds, cots, chairs, walking frames, crutches, and wheelchairs, have cumulatively saved £5.1 million and 900 tonnes in waste.

Through Warp It, a huge range of unwanted medical items and hospital furniture, fixtures and fittings are redistributed in a safe and legal way and can be donated to other departments within NHS Trusts, or other organisations and charities on the Warp It network; this includes the Sylvia Lanka Foundation (SLF) and MedAid charities that redistribute medical equipment and furniture to under-resourced healthcare institutions abroad.

Discarded or unwanted pre-used medical equipment can be safely reused for general medical, respiratory, urinary, surgical, cardiovascular, paediatrics, gastroenterology, and emergency purposes. This varies from generalised equipment, such portable IV drip bag stands and inspection lamps to specialist instruments such as craniotomy sets and bone marrow biopsy needles.

Furniture and equipment often no longer needed by the NHS includes birthing beds, cots, bedside cupboards, tables, and lockers, commodes, shower chairs and hoists, crutches, wheelchairs and walking frames.

Warp It founder and Head of Happiness, Daniel O’Connor, said:

“All too often, perfectly good yet unwanted medical equipment is cluttering storage areas or ending up in landfill. We work with NHS Trusts, other medical institutions, and charities to put a stop to often nearly-new crutches, wheelchairs, hospital beds, and many other medical items being thrown away or left unused.

“By redistributing these viable medical items, which are decontaminated and made safe for reuse in line with infection control procedures, organisations save on the costs associated with sending assets to landfill while lowering their environmental impact.

“By working with our members, we are seeing whole communities both here and abroad building sustainable and safe futures together.”

Read more about medical equipment donated to charities thanks to Warp It community.

Register with Warp It and donate medical equipment and other old or unwanted assets. 

Register a charity with Warp It for free.

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Jennifer Clair Robson

Jennifer Clair Robson

Writing to make a difference because climate change, sustainability and the environment are issues close to my heart.


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