Spotlight on: Forth Valley’s Joint Loan Equipment Service
Almost all of us will have, or know some who has, relied on a service like the Joint Loan Equipment Service. In fact, across Forth Valley there are around 50,000 people using the service at any one time.
Funded jointly by NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Council and Stirling Council, the service provides, delivers, uplifts, maintains, and recycles aids and equipment used by people to live as independently as possible in their own home.
There are many services and teams which use the equipment service, including occupational therapy, hospital discharge teams, physiotherapists, community nurses and social care staff. These teams assess patient needs and use the loans service to provide access to almost 200 different pieces of equipment, including:
- Grab aids and handles
- Kitchen, bathing, and toilet aids
- Large recliner chairs
- Hospital style beds
The service operates 52 weeks a year, providing evening and weekend on-call services too. Illustrating the important role the service plays in supporting people to continue living in their own communities, the service remained fully operational throughout the pandemic. Over the last year, the service has achieved:
- On average, 1200 items loaned out each month.
- An average three-day waiting period for non-urgent items.
- 98% of items delivered on time and 48% delivered on the same day as the order was placed
- A 9% increase on items loaned compared to previous year.
- A consistent service throughout the pandemic, ensuring no backlog waiting list for priority or critical equipment delivery, collection, or repair.
During the pandemic, families and carers offered to collect equipment directly from the JLES hub in Grangemouth or at one of the services’ satellite stores. This enabled equipment to get to the person who needs it as quickly as possible, at a suitable time for them. For the service, it made more delivery slots available for larger items, which families can’t easily transport. The service continues to encourage collection if it is suitable.
Every service has its challenges, and JLES service manager Adrian McLaughlin sums theirs up perfectly, he says “We are incredibly efficient at getting equipment out to people and in place to meet their needs. Although the clue is in our name, we provide items on loan, and we know we aren’t so successful at getting equipment back in to maintain and reuse.
“This issue is important both for the environment and in terms of providing value for money. A lot of the items we loan can be used many times before they must be replaced. If they can’t be used again, we can also recycle them safely.
“Instead, many people don’t realise we can take equipment back in and they unfortunately end up in the skip. Some people do give items to family and friends for reuse, but this often isn’t appropriate as equipment doesn’t meet their needs, so it could be unsafe to use.”
Items can be cleaned, refurbished and safety checked by the equipment service, ready to be returned to the JLES for re-use. The more items returned and reused the more money that can be saved and re-invested into supporting people to keep their independence in their home and out in the community. This also supports everyone’s contribution to a reduced carbon footprint and a healthier environment.
Have you used this service?
Please remember to return your equipment when you no longer need it. The team can accept equipment such as walking aids, shower chairs, and dining trolleys by dropping them off at the Grangemouth depot. For larger items, please arrange pick up by contacting the team on 01324 506 070 or JLES@falkirk.gov.uk.
Joint Loans Equipment Service – Grangemouth Depot
Unit 9, West Mains Industrial Estate,FK3 8YE
Community drop off points (walking aids only)
In addition, the equipment service is currently supporting a pilot programme with NHS Forth Valley physiotherapists, allowing walking aids to be returned either directly to the Grangemouth depot or at one of two drop off sites:
- Kinneil Kerse Recycling centre
Grangemouth Rd, Bo’ness, EH51 0PU
- Roughmute Recycling Centre
Bogton Road, Bonnybridge, FK5 0NP
All walking aids fit for re-use are inspected for safety, decontaminated and transported back to NHS Forth Valley. It is hoped that a similar service will be available in Stirling and Clackmannanshire soon.