Student forced to use loan to buy own wheelchair BBC News Wales — Scope | Disability forum
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Student forced to use loan to buy own wheelchair BBC News Wales

Richard_Scope Posts: 3,614 Scope online community team
Kate Morgan
Communities Correspondent

A woman was forced to use her student loan to buy her own wheelchair after being told she did not meet the criteria for an NHS one.

Bethany Handley, 24, faced a choice between that or being stuck in her student house. 

She is now campaigning for wider criteria for people to get publicly-funded wheelchairs and more choice about the type they get.  

The Welsh government said its wheelchair services were "clinically-led" and offered a "wide range of equipment" to meet individuals' needs.

Bethany, an activist and writer from Monmouth, said she was told she did not meet the "narrow eligibility criteria" for an NHS wheelchair when she was a student.

She said, in order to get one, people had to be able to only walk a few steps or not at all, whereas she could "walk a little bit indoors and needed to use one outdoors".

Bethany said she had been "lucky" to have the money from her student loan to pay privately but wants Wales to have a similar system to England.

Last year the disability campaigner became a full-time wheelchair user and recently got her first NHS chair.

"The NHS chairs are fine, but if you want to be really independent, you ideally need a better chair, so there are lighter chairs on the market and that means it’s easier to lift it into the car... to self-propel, you don’t get as tired or get as much pain," she said.

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