Wheelchair user with 3% chance of walking again ‘barred from NHS-funded device’

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A wheelchair user has been denied an electric wheelchair from her local CCG because doctors say she has a 3% chance of walking again.    

Charlotte Walton from Newbury is housebound because of a rare genetic condition and has had to launch a crowdfunding campaign so she can purchase a £5,000 powerchair after the NHS would not refer her to a wheelchair service.

Ms Walton told the BBC she is “stuck at home”. But her local CCG apologised and asked her to contact them to discuss the issue.

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She said: “Because of this 3% there is no definitive answer over whether I will walk again, so I’m stuck.”

A spokesperson for Berkshire West CCG told the BBC: “We are very sorry to hear of Miss Walton’s situation”. She was asked to speak to it to “discuss the decision making process in more detail.”

In July, it was revealed that the amount of money raised for wheelchairs on JustGiving shot up by around 78% between 2015 and 2016, from £365,000 to £1.8m, indicating that people are increasingly turning to dealers for equipment rather than relying on NHS services.

The figures showed that in the first half of 2017 there was a 60% rise in donations to disabled people requesting funding for wheelchairs compared to the same period 2016.

Although some of the data may be due to better awareness of the crowfunding website, there is an indication that the upwards trend is continuing.

The trend in people crowdfunding to buy wheelchairs privately from retailers comes as the NHS struggles to cope with the demand for the equipment.

Limited resources mean people often have to wait longer than the maximum waiting time for a wheelchair, and sometimes the aids are unsuitable or too heavy for the user when they arrive.

Tags : crowdfundcrowdfundingjustgivingNHSWheelchairwheelchair service
Joe Peskett

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