Woman with cerebral palsy laments cost of adaptive shoes that Wakefield's NHS trust won't pay for — Scope | Disability forum
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Woman with cerebral palsy laments cost of adaptive shoes that Wakefield's NHS trust won't pay for

Richard_Scope
Richard_Scope Posts: 3,614 Scope online community team
A woman with cerebral palsy says being disabled shouldn’t end up costing more through high prices for suitable footwear.

Bianca Raven, 36, said Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, would provide orthotics – the adjustments within shoes for people who have difficulties walking – but not the shoes themselves.

She said it is then up to the patient to find footwear capable of containing the orthotics, which can cost £160.

The trust recommended trainers, she said, but Miss Raven argues that this kind of footwear is unsuitable for many everyday situations.


[Bianca Raven who has cerebral palsy has difficulty finding the right kind of shoes for her condition at an affordable price. Picture Scott Merrylees]

She said: “You can’t wear a suit with trainers. There have been nights out, business meetings, charity balls or weddings when I wouldn’t want to wear them.

“It’s easy to take for granted something as simple as having a smart pair of shoes. It makes you feel different without them. It makes you feel like people are looking at you all the time like people are staring and makes you feel socially awkward.

“I have issues with self-confidence. When I was younger I tried to make myself stand out, now I just want to be like everyone else, I don’t want to stand out from the crowd unless I choose to.”

Trainee accountant Miss Raven said other NHS trusts in other districts, including a previous trust in Bradford, provided both orthotics and the footwear required.

She said a lot of the shoes available to buy were aimed at children and would not be appropriate for adults.

Miss Raven said NHS trusts should change and retailers should further into providing footwear to accommodate people with disabilities.

She said: “The NHS needs to look at providing footwear with orthotics as a starting point and shops should not increase their price tags. If you put ‘adaptive’ or ‘disability’ on the label it should not mean it automatically inflates the price.

“Things like PIP are supposed to help with the cost of mobility aids but it doesn’t stretch far enough. If the price tags were the same as everyone else for basic things it might stretch far enough but it doesn’t

“I don’t know why someone should be paying for something if it’s a medical need.”

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief nursing officer Talib Yaseen said: “We are sorry that Bianca feels this way, but I can assure her that she is not being treated any differently to any of the patients we see in our orthotics service.

"The service provides clinical or medical products to support all patients based on their personal clinical need, and in most circumstances, this does not include the provision of footwear.

"In exceptional circumstances, we have provided footwear when patients have struggled to find anything suitable, and all avenues have been exhausted.

"In this particular case, we are not yet at that stage.

“We have advised Bianca on the type of footwear she requires to suitably fit her appliances, which provides her access to a range of more fashionable brands and allows greater choice.

"If Bianca does still feel that she wishes to raise concerns, we are more than happy to discuss these with her at any point or she could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service to raise her concerns.”

Scope
Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

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