Sunday, 8 March 2015

Reportage: Long waits for children's wheelchairs

Concerns have been raised by local parents over an increase in waiting times for the provision children’s wheelchairs.

Since last October, the supply of wheelchairs has been carried out by private company, Opcare.

Parent Michael Dean said he is worried about the increase in waiting times for wheelchair assessments.

“This presents a serious problem for children like our son Oliver, who have severe physical disabilities,” he said.

“He is a full-time wheelchair user, has very low muscle tone and is prone to pressure sores - difficulties that are exacerbated by ill-fitting seating,” he said.

“It is crucial to his health that his wheelchair is monitored on a regular basis, and these waiting times place our children at risk.”

Coun Megan Swift (Lab, Town) has raised concerns with NHS commissioners. She said: “I’ve been hearing some dreadful stories, and it appears that the CCG chose to go with the cheapest option.”

Martin Pursey, head of procurement at Kirklees CCG, said: “When Opcare took over the contract there were 158 children awaiting assessment and provision of equipment.

"An additional 165 referrals have been received for children since the service started and a total of 259 children have now been assessed.”

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