Staff are appealing to patients to return crutches – after a large drop in numbers over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Trust asks patients given crutches to bring them back once no longer needed.
Around 10 to 15 pairs are given to patients every day from urgent care centres at both the University Hospital of Hartlepool and University Hospital of North Tees.
But a significant number have not been returned – partly due to social distancing measures and public concerns about visiting hospitals.
Nicola Grieves, clinical lead for urgent care, said: “We know that returning crutches is the last thing on anyone’s mind when they’re properly back on their feet again after breaking a leg or foot.
“Historically, we have always had issues with a large number of crutches not being returned.
“But this has become an even more significant problem over the course of COVID-19.
“People have been unable or reluctant to visit hospital to return them, while our orthopaedic outpatients departments have also been holding virtual telephone and video appointments so patients haven’t needed to come in.
“We need the crutches for other patients so we’re asking people to hand them in. Many will have stored them away and forgotten they are in the home. Please bring them back so we can re-use them.
“It is perfectly safe to bring them back. There will be a collection point outside the main entrances of both our urgent care centres in Stockton and Hartlepool so no one will need to come into the main buildings.
“These crutches are then professionally cleaned so they are safe to use by other patients.”