Threat to medical loan scheme

THE future of a medical loan service in Backwell could be under threat because of a lack of volunteers to run it. The Backwell Medical

THE future of a medical loan service in Backwell could be under threat because of a lack of volunteers to run it.The Backwell Medical Equipment Loan Service, which runs from the Red Cross hall in the village, has had to scale down its twice weekly service to just one day a week because there are not enough people to staff it.Originally the service operated on both Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but now it has been scaled down to Tuesdays only.The service loans out, free of charge, medical equipment such as wheelchairs, commodes, walking sticks and raised toilet seats and has been running from the Red Cross hall for several years.Volunteer Pam Topley, who has been working for the group for four years, said: "We used to have just one person running each session. But because of health and safety reasons we now need two people to work per morning and this has caused us problems and we have had to close down the Thursday session."We are all volunteers and have to fit around family and other commitments and are managing to provide a service at the moment, but are desperately in need of new helpers."But it is not just the Backwell loan service which has suffered from a lack of volunteers.A similar scheme in Weston-super-Mare has had to fold for the same reason and is now operating a mobile service instead once a week.Mrs Topley said: "The service is very heavily relied upon as these days hospitals do not tend to loan out equipment such as wheelchairs as they are worried they will not have them returned."People rely on us for help when they come out of hospital and need certain equipment in their own home."Others use us when they have an elderly relative visiting and need items such as wheelchairs."It would be very sad if we had to close the service and would like to hear from anyone who has a spare couple of hours to help."Anyone who wants to help run the service can contact Debbie on 0117 3012605.

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