Melksham Community Hospital, Spa Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 7NZ
Wendy Busby was very helpful in helping source a suitable wheelchair for my daughter. The major problems we have faced over the last 6 years have been mainly to di with suppliers dictating everything from assessment through to fitting the new wheelchair. With the client being bottom of the list. I feel parents of disabled children should be included in the decision process and not just told what wheelchair their child has to use. The process of getting a new wheelchair has taken over a year to get a suitable product for my daughter. Waiting times are too long.
I have a nine year old daughter who has SMA Type II. She received her Electric Wheelchair when she was 4 years old and at this time it covered some of her needs, it would take her from A to B. Now she is older she need something to get her more independence, the trouble with Wiltshire Wheelchair services is that they just fob you off. I have asked for a new assessment of my child due to the fact she has grown, she needs more independence and more movement for a Wheelchair but they say she does not need one. Other parents with children who have Electric Wheelchairs have a lot more functions than my daughters, it seem the louder you are the more they do something but I feel all children should be treated the same and not that some can have better than others. I am unsure where to go to next as this is making me very sad and angry
Being a health professional myself having worked with adults with spinal cord injury for over 17 years, I know wheelchair services can be a bit of a postcode lottery but some have very dynamic forward thinking therapists involved. Wiltshire has completely the opposite! Antiquated, judgemental, and the opposite of dynamic! I went for an initial assessment for my 4 year old son who has Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. The key thing for him is that he can already propel himself in a standing wheelchair and has good spatial awareness. As an active user, he needs something easy to propel and lightweight (to encourage appropriate use). Active user for Wiltshire = Action chairs!!! They should be called inaction chairs. From working with adults in these, they are cumbersome, heavy and hugely impractical. The reason they are chosen is they are cheap and the only other advantage is they are adaptable (I suppose I should give them that!). The assessment made me feel I was screaming in a glass box, I have never felt so patronised and it is clear that the therapist in charge of that service has never had first hand experience of dealing with a disability as she would never make such recommendations if she had! She had made the judgement about what she was going to give my son as soon as we walked through the door. In fact recommendation is too strong a word as it is based on no more clinical judgement than a non therapist would have. In fact if you put a care pathway in place with a flow diagram you could replace her with a rehab therapist and save a few thousand leaving more money in the pot for vital pieces of equipment! In 2015, people with disabilities should be able to access the cutting edge of developments and technology along with professionals with vision. This long term, cuts costs and maximises people's independence. Wiltshire WCS unfortunately typifies everything that is truly dreadful about the UK's vision of disability.
I'm flumoxed by the difference in my young childs assessment by this service compared to other healthcare professionals involved . The wheelchair offered was completely user unfriendly and imposed more restrictions on our lives than benefits that it may offer, and only one option was given! If you only wanted to be about town, didn't have to lift into a car, or didn't dismantle it in the pooring rain i'm sure you'd be fine. The only options available to us from wheelchair services, with or without the voucher are to become dependent on a vehicle and compromise our families outdoor, all terrain lifestyle which our disabled child actively thrives on. Antiquated, out of date, family and actvity unfriendly!