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Millbrook Healthcare and NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have agreed that additional funded is needed to tackle the equipment backlog following complaints.

On 1st April 2017, Millbrook Healthcare took the contract to provide the NHS with wheelchairs across Kent and Medway for children and adults, with NHS Thanet CCG managing the contract on behalf of the eight Kent and Medway CCGs.

However, Professor Mike Oliver, a representative of the Kent Wheelchair Users Group, has called on the NHS to cancel its contract with equipment provider Millbrook Healthcare.

Having been a wheelchair user for over 56 years, Professor Oliver says that the current NHS service is “bullying” customers and its employees.

“I have to say the service now is the worst that it has ever been,” Professor Oliver told Kent Online. “This isn’t just my opinion but also those I represent.

“I’ve been involved with disability politics for more than 40 years and I have never been involved in any initiatives and campaigns where there has been complete unanimity.

“There is complete unanimity amongst all of our groups that there is no alternative, in our opinion, but to remove the contract from Milbrook.

“We don’t like coming to that conclusion and we have a track record going back over 20 years of working inside the system and doing our best to improve it from the inside.”

In a report issued on 20th July 2018, Thanet CCG said that in March 2018, 443 children and almost 2,000 adults were waiting for assessment, repairs or provision of equipment.

Of these, 251 children and just under 1,000 adults had been waiting for more than 18 weeks.

Milbrook Healthcare Communications Manager Ria Wilcox responded to the issue: “Following an independent audit commissioned by the CCGs, we are now in a position to understand the full scale of the issues, which we are working together on.

“We are taking this situation very seriously and we apologise for the time it has taken to get to this point, however, it has been necessary given the issues presented.”

“The CCGs recognise that cost-pressures have had an impact on the day-to-day running of the service, leading to longer waiting times for patients, for which we are very sorry.”

Ria added that Millbrook Healthcare and Thanet CCG agree that additional funding is necessary to amend the backlog of waiting times for equipment and repairs.

“The additional funding will be linked to a plan with clear timelines for issuing equipment and repairs to all service users who have been waiting for 18-weeks or more, with those who have been waiting for longer than a year being prioritised,” she continued.

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