HOSPITAL staff are appealing for patients to return walking frames in an effort to save thousands of pounds.

The Royal Berkshire Hospital issues many zimmer frames, metal crutches and walking sticks every year, but many are never returned.

Equipment which is not returned has to be replaced at great expense and any items sent back will be thoroughly checked to ensure they are suitable for the next person to use.

Jon Lee, physiotherapy professional lead at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, said: “We know that returning walking aids is often not your highest priority when you or a loved one is recovering from illness or injury.

“Many pieces of equipment end up being forgotten as they are stored in cupboards, sheds or garages.

“But, these aids are always needed by other patients and we have to pay to replace each walking frame, crutch or stick that is not returned.”