Tauranga Hospital is pleading for the return of their crutches, walking frames, and wheelchairs, concerned the absence of the gear could have health implications for patients.

Mobility aids are going walking never to return at a hospital department with some people forgetting to return the mobility aids.

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Physiotherapy team leader Martin Kidd said: "So the message is, if you have it and no longer need it please return it."

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Crutches and walking frames were the most common items to go walkabout but over-toilet frames and wheelchairs are also high on the list. The loss of the equipment, loaned out to people to aid their recovery, is having health implications for other patients.

"If we don't have the equipment, people in need don't get the support they require when they require it, which delays their recovery or being able to return home.

"In the last eight months we have issued 741 walking frames, which is about three a day," said Martin. "So you can see how that can soon become a problem if they are not returned.

"For the last two weeks we have run very low on crutches for inpatients. And Rehabilitation Equipment Services has run out of walking frames to issue in the community."

Mr Kidd said the return of equipment requests were being met with varying degrees of success and was now appealing to the public more broadly.

"It's not a good use of our health resources to be buying new equipment, when there is so much equipment in the community which is not being used. If you have any equipment that you no longer need, please return it. If you're unsure whether you still require your walking aid contact the Physiotherapy Department."

Tauranga Hospital's Physiotherapy Department can be contacted on (07) 579 8441 or text 027 886 0985 and someone will get back to you.

Equipment can also be left in the 'return area' at Tauranga Hospital's front reception. Be sure to give your name at reception so it is clear who has returned what.