The news this week highlighted what has been evident to us at OT Partners for a long time, Wheelchair services across England are failing patients. As we see over and over again in health care, the provision of services and resources are often guided by the post code which we live in, the same applies to wheelchair provisions.
BBC News reported this week that Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has launched a new national charter, which will aim to improve services across the country.
The report highlighted that people are having to wait an unacceptable length of time for their NHS service to provide a wheelchair, and not only this but the wheelchairs provided often do not meet the individuals needs. When people are suffering from a neurological disability finding a suitable wheelchair with the right prescription is paramount. Without the correct seating system the patient is often susceptible to secondary complications, such as pressure sores or deteriorating posture leading to increasing pain As well as secondary complications, lack of a wheelchair or the wrong type of wheelchair can result in a loss of functional independence. When someone who has a life limiting condition and may be deteriorating over the matter of months is waiting for any length of time for a wheelchair this is not acceptable. As many services in the NHS the resources for wheelchairs are not always available and while the treating professionals may know which type of wheelchair may suit a person best to meet their needs it is not always possible for the service to provide this piece of equipment. Hopefully the new charter will outline these issues and help NHS England address some of these short falls.
According to the report “there are about 1.2 million wheelchair users across the UK, but NHS England said these figures were old and work needed to be done collecting data locally to get a detailed picture of what was happening across the country.”
At OT Partners we have extensive experience in working with people who have complex seating needs. While we can not issue wheelchairs we can assist and advise people whom are looking to purchase chairs or wheelchairs independently as well as helping advise with any other postural issues that you may be experiencing.