Here is a link to a plea from one NHS hospital trust for the return of crutches by ex-patients, the internet is littered with them, pleas not abandoned crutches. In a small hospital like Cromer 12 pairs of crutches are lost each month and each pair costs at least £20.00. The Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust buys over 200 pairs per month. That is a lot of money over a year.
I'm particularly interested because this weekend I returned a pair of crutches to my local hospital, nearly a year after I needed them after a fractured calcaneum (heel). If Cromer hospital loses 12 pairs a month, I can only wonder how many are lost nationally each month and what it must cost the NHS. Surely a returnable deposit could be asked for. Or is that going against one of the sacred founding principles of the NHS? I often think it's a shame prudence wasn't one of the NHS's founding principles.