RESIDENTS are being asked to hand back their loaned medical equipment as part of an 'amnesty' launched by the NHS.

NHS and social care leaders in North Yorkshire have asked people who are no longer using items, to give them back.

As part of a national "crutch amnesty," which was launched last year, the NHS claimed for every 50 pairs of crutches issued through the health service, only ten pairs are returned.

In the county alone, walking frames, crutches, beds, mattresses and hoists are some of the main things that people have failed to return.

Councillor Michael Harrison, executive member for adult services and health integration for North Yorkshire County Council said: "Health and social care equipment includes a range of products to assist independent living at home, including mobility and communication aids, shower chairs, perching stools, walking aids and pressure relieving mattresses and cushions.

"A lot of this equipment never finds its way back to the provider when it’s surplus to requirements.

"It’s quite likely it’s just been put in the garage or in the cupboard under the stairs and forgotten about once it’s served its purpose."

The health service is asking people to their return medical equipment, in a desperate bid to reduce the amount of money it loses per year.

It claims the total bill for loaned crutches across every NHS trust is around £3 million per year.

Dr Charles Parker, the clinical chair of NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We’re calling on people to return, recycle or request collection of unwanted equipment so it can be used again by someone else in need.

“It’s vital we manage local NHS resources and budgets responsibly and reducing waste plays a big part in that."

A service has since been set up to encourage the county's residents to return their equipment.

One amnesty bin has been installed at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, whilst another two drop-off bins have been installed at York hospital.

Trading as, Medequip Assistive Technology, the contractor has drop-off points at its Knaresborough and Scarborough depots.

Michaela Harris, business support manager at Medequip Assistive Technology, said: "If our customers have equipment they no longer need, they can simply get in touch with us and we’ll pick the equipment up for free - just ring 01423 226240 or email"