Yorkshire Mum fights for better wheelchair provision
9:26am 23rd June 2010
A Yorkshire Mum is off to Parliment today to demand an improvement in wheelchair provision in our area.
Tracey Franklin's son Jack has Muscular Dystrophy and relies on an electric chair for his independence. The 13 year old was told he'd have to wait 7 months to recieve it.
Tracey will be protesting against gaps in wheelchair services, such as North Lincolnshire patients waiting six months for equipment when patients in other parts of the region wait just three, and Kirklees on average awarding only £1,818 for wheelchairs when the true cost of a powered chair is around £17,500.
Muscle diseases are progressive and often cause other health problems such as scoliosis, which can become much worse if the right amount of support isn't provided by a wheelchair. So a long wait between being assessed for a wheelchair and actually getting the equipment can mean months of pain and discomfort for many.
Tracey, from Brough, has had problems getting wheelchair services to make repairs and to provide Jack with a new chair as he gets bigger.
She has told Minster FM:
"When children grow out of wheelchairs it's exactly like wearing out a pair of trainers. My older son doesn't take the same shoe size as he did five years ago, so why would they expect Jack to take the same size wheelchair?
"Everyone knows these children are going to need wheelchairs, so why aren't they assessed as a matter of course when they get to a certain age, rather than spending months and months on a waiting list? If children don't have the right wheelchair then their interaction with friends drops dramatically. They can easily get left behind and lose their confidence. It's like taking somebody's legs away from them.
"We had no funding for Jack's first wheelchair either and we couldn't afford it so we had to rely on fundraising our friends and colleagues had done for us."
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