Baroness in a barrow as Wheelchair Alliance launches
“For too long wheelchair services have been inadequate and it is time that wheelchair users are listened to and provided a proper service, rather than being marginalised.”
A national group of wheelchair users and advocates led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE headed to Parliament Square to call for an improvement to wheelchair services in England before more users are adversely affected by the poor levels of service present.
Baroness Grey-Thompson (right) posed in a wheelbarrow alongside former anaesthetist Dr Jean Waters (left) and patient champion Fiona Carey (middle) in front of the Houses of Parliament to highlight the importance of the right chair.
The Wheelchair Leadership Alliance is a commitment group tasked with improving wheelchair services for users across England. The group brought together MPs and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), as well as other healthcare professionals and senior figures who will be vital to bring about success, at a launch event, highlighting the issues facing wheelchair users in getting the right chair at the right time and launching a wheelchair charter and national improvement campaign.
The Alliance says that it is crucial that wheelchair users receive the right chair at the right time in order to lead a normal life but many users often face severe delays to receive their chair. Additionally, it says that there are no set standards for budget per user and there is no current clear idea of what is spent on wheelchair services in NHS England, leading to widespread confusion and varied levels of service for users across the country.
Baroness Grey-Thompson said: “For too long wheelchair services have been inadequate and it is time that wheelchair users are listened to and provided a proper service, rather than being marginalised. The huge variation in quality of services across the UK is astounding, and means a huge proportion of wheelchair users are left immobilised, frustrated and ignored. Now we want to get this issue on the radar of people who can influence change and also get them behind the campaign by urging them to pledge their support to the Charter.”
In addition to healthcare professionals and CCGs, members of the public can pledge their support to the Wheelchair Charter and campaign online through the Alliance’s website. The Alliance hopes support from people in positions of influence as well as the general public will help bring about change faster.
The charter is a 10 point document which outlines the key principles that wheelchair services should aspire to and can be accessed through the website HERE