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Weekly wins praise for zimmer amnesty success

A zimmer frame amnesty campaign run by a Home Counties weekly has been praised by hospital staff.

The scheme, run by the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, encouraged patients in Hertfordshire to return their loaned walking sticks and aids after hundreds went missing from the town’s hospital, as well as neighbouring facilities in Watford and St Albans.

The Johnston Press title’s campaign was launched in September and saw 119 walking aids returned over the course of the month, compared to just 41 in August.

Michelle O’Grady, senior sister for children’s A&E at The West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, thanked the Gazette for its help in recovering the missing zimmers.

She said: “Thank you to everyone, including our local press, for contributing to the success of our appeal.

“We’re delighted with the support we’ve received and we hope that the public will continue to return any hospital property they have on temporary loan, which is no longer required.”

Gazette deputy editor Damien Lucas added: “While we get regular press releases about news and events relating to the West Herts Hospitals Trust, an email asking us to appeal for people to return borrowed equipment such as walking aids stood out a little from the norm.

“The fact our quirky appeal – which we dubbed a ‘zimmer amnesty’ – received such a positive response from our readers not only showed how important a role local newspapers still play in the community, but also helped the NHS Trust to replenish its vital stocks and help many more people in need.”