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The figures from the HSE Primary Care Division include manual and powered wheelchairs.
“This relates to new purchases only and does not include recycled items,” a HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).
The spokesperson stressed that the total spend on wheelchairs, crutches and ‘air boots’ across the HSE and public health system is difficult to ascertain. The spokesperson said that hospitals and Hospital Groups have different ordering systems for these items and therefore providing a total centralised figure was challenging.
However, the spokesperson told MI that there is an extensive policy of recycling in respect of wheelchairs in the health system.
“Wheelchairs are recycled in vast quantities through our recycling services,” the HSE spokesperson told MI.
“The full range of wheelchairs are recycled: Powered wheelchairs, manual hi-spec wheelchairs, paediatric wheelchairs and standard wheelchairs.
“All wheelchairs are recycled until they are deemed unsafe or not cost-effective to recycle.
“In the case of customised moulded seating systems, the moulds are non-recyclable, but the base on which they are attached is recyclable.”