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Devon County Council is the latest authority to urge members of the public to return community equipment no longer needed, with the council warning that an increase in demand is leading to a danger of supply shortages.

According to the council, demand during the COVID-19 pandemic for items including commodes, walking frames, shower stools and raised toilet seats has resulted in stocks becoming in short supply.

Community equipment is provided to people when they are discharged from hospital, or after a period of illness, to help individuals remain safe and independent in the community, freeing up beds in hospitals.

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Since the outbreak, however, the NHS and social care teams have needed to quickly support a much higher volume of patients with items of equipment in a bid to increase bed capacity in acute care settings, placing an increased demand on the local equipment service.

Covering a population of over three-quarters of a million people, the council has urged anyone with community equipment that is no longer required to contact Millbrook Healthcare on 0330 124 4491 so that a collection can be arranged, free of charge.

In particular, Devon County Council has stressed that commodes are in especially high demand.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services, said: “Coronavirus has caused a significant increase in the need for vital community equipment. If anyone has any of these items at home and no longer uses them, please can they get in touch, so that it can be reused to help those who are in need.

“There is some excellent work going on to support the most vulnerable in our communities during these challenging times and this is another valuable way in which you can do that.”

The Devon Independent Living Integrated Service (DILIS) is jointly funded by the NHS & Devon County Council and is provided, on their behalf, by Millbrook Healthcare.

Once a collection is arranged, people will be asked to leave the item outside or in a safe place for collection by Millbrook.

Items that can be re-used will be fully tested, refurbished if required, and thoroughly cleaned before being reused.

Recently, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) also made an urgent appeal to anyone with unneeded community equipment to return it immediately, with a particular focus on beds and mattresses.

In March, Millbrook Healthcare, along with leading CES providers including NRS Healthcare, Medequip and Ross Care, as well as the British Healthcare Trades Association, agreed to work closely together to ensure vital services remain operational throughout the coronavirus crisis.

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