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Zimmer frames take a walk

NHS Scotland spent more than £1.5 million on zimmer frames and crutches last year because injured people are failing to return them.

Health managers bought 37,951 pairs of crutches last year - an average of 729 each week - at a spiralling cost to taxpayers.

Another 22,633 walking frames were purchased, an average of 435 a week, a Freedom of Information request revealed. Critics branded the figures as "shocking".

Many walking aids have been abandoned in attics or sheds, left on public transport or in hotels. A pair of crutches has even appeared on eBay.

Scottish Conservative Health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: "One-off instances may be no big deal for the NHS, but when you multiply these by several thousand, the cost mounts up."

Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients Association, said: "Hospitals are not keeping their eye on the ball with this."

A spokesman for NHS National Services Scotland said it would be a decision for the Scottish Government whether to introduce fines.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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