PEOPLE who have borrowed crutches from the Isle of Wight NHS are being urged to return them as soon as possible — no questions asked.
Between 30 and 50 sets of crutches are loaned out every week but the majority are never returned, costing the NHS money that could be spent on front-line services, a spokesman said.
Mary Bound, from the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said: "Despite asking people to return their walking aids, and following up with them after they are likely to no longer need them, we still find we are running short of walking aids.
"Most of the crutches we issue are for patients who have attended the emergency or physiotherapy departments at St. Mary’s Hospital.
"If every pair we issued were returned promptly, when no longer required, we wouldn’t need to buy as many new pairs every year. All we would need to replace would be those that have been damaged, worn out or to cope with increased demand.
"This would save us money that could be spent on front-line services."
Anyone with crutches or walking aids they no longer need are being asked to return them to community equipment store, run by the IW Council and NHS, at Barry Way, Newport Business Park.
The team will be on hand to accept returned crutches between 8.30am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, and can be contacted on 528334.
Crutches can also be left at the St Mary's Hospital entrance, with a note stating the name of the person they were loaned to.