Wheelchairs enable many people to live happier, fuller lives and yet the wheelchair services provided by the NHS often fall short of meeting the needs of users despite best efforts from clinicians and wheelchair services.
To redress this, the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance was formed in January 2015 under the leadership of one of the UK’s best known Paralympic athletes, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. This Alliance is a commitment group campaigning for a better deal for wheelchair users and aims to transform the quality and effectiveness of services across England. The Alliance brings together senior, influential people and representatives of key stakeholder groups under the united goal of improving wheelchair services to ensure that people get The Right Chair at the Right Time Right Now.
Since Healthwatch is positioned to reflect the voices of users of services, it has tremendous opportunity to influence commissioning priorities and services to reflect the needs and experiences of local people. Getting wheelchair services right would impact positively on both health and social care. Not accessing the right chair at the right time has huge negative impact ranging from isolation and depression, the need to access prolonged levels of social care and the inability to work, to hugely expensive spinal surgery , pressure sore treatment and fractures due to preventable falls. (See the Right Chair Right Time Right Now eDigest at http://media.nhsiq.nhs.uk/edigest/ for more detailed information.)
Pledging support can be done online at www.rightwheelchair.org.uk and clicking on the pledge button on the top right corner of the home page.
Their aim is to achieve 10,000 unique pledges of support so that they can initiate constructive conversations with government about prioritising wheelchair services within the NHS mandate. They also aim to achieve at least 70 CCG’s signing up to deliver as best they can against the charter principles, thereby starting the process of eradicating the significant variation and postcode lottery that currently exists in wheelchair services. Your help and support can help them to achieve these aims.
Any issues you have regarding wheelchairs and health or social care services your local healthwatch would like to hear about?