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NHS wheelchair services

jajajaja Member Posts: 76 Pioneering
Hello there,

I need to make a decision and was hoping for an opinion or two.

I have been offered a chair by wheelchair services. It arrived today. There are some problems with it and I have to decide whether to accept the chair or ask for a wheelchair voucher and self-fund the rest.

I'm not going to say the brand of the chair. It doesn't seem fair but these are the issues with it for me.

- The seat is uncomfortable as it's a hard metal base with a cushion over the top. The cushion is hard.
- The seat/leg position isn't right for me the pads behind my calves put my legs in an uncomfortable position.
- It feels a couple of inches too wide in the seat - is this normal?
- the position of the footrest means my feet are quite forward rather than further under my chair.

- When I was assessed I was told I would need a ramp for a 'step' that is maybe 2cm high. It isn't a step really but I was told it wouldn't go up and down it. The problem is all the pavements and drop curbs are more than that where I live. How is this going to cope outdoors?
- I won't be able to get it in the car myself and my friends and family wouldn't be able to either.
- It is hideous. I sure people are going to say it doesn't matter but it does to me. I am used to using a chair but this one is truly awful. It has a neck brace type thing. I have no issue with my neck and my condition doesn't affect my neck so I really don't need it but when I asked I was told it was regulations.

I would welcome your opinion, advice, and suggestions. 


Many thanks





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Replies

  • April2018momApril2018mom Member [under moderation] Posts: 2,882 Member - under moderation
    That is awful @jaja!

    Can you try to complain or not? I recommend finding out how to make a official complaint about the service. You can find contact details on their website. Make sure you give enough information about the problem with your wheelchair. Mention why it is not acceptable, give alternative options plus a brief and honest description of the issue. Be honest and polite. If you can, include some photos for evidence and credibility too. I find that helps. What do you want to do? Hopefully they will swiftly resolve the issue in your favour. It is in their best interest to do so really. This is a link to a page where you can complain about all NHS services. Do not hesitate. Explain clearly and concisely what you want them to do to fix your issue in a timely manner. 
    https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/health-services/nhs-complaints/

    Have you tried to get a new chair privately? I'm absolutely sure that you can do so. Feel free to message me for more details. After first emailing the wheelchair services in my area, I decided to get a voucher and then find out if I could pay for his first ever wheelchair via other means. Try emailing a few different companies with questions. Also remember to ask for your money back as well.
    My number one piece of advice is to test out a few and make some notes. And do not feel bad about asking questions. I recommend taking a notebook and a pen with you as well. Choose a reputable mobility aids shop. Be firm yet polite. Say that you are fully prepared to contact a national newspaper so that you can have a chance to tell your story to the public. This is a last ditch option only though.
    Who exactly did you speak to? Ask for some names. Post on their Facebook page if there is one. Or try to complain via Twitter or Instagram. Most if not all companies have at least one social media account these days. Good luck! Sometimes you can complain on their website in addition. Some companies even have a box for all suggestions and other feedback. But first think about how to complain. 
  • laura222laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi @jaja!

    I'm in pretty much the same situation. I've had a wheelchair provided that has some of the same issues as yours and am wondering about the options too. I found this site to be particularly useful in terms of finding out how to get the right fit for you. I don't have SCI but have found the advice very useful. https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/networks/spinal-cord-injury/spinal-seating/module-9/keys-to-manual-wheelchair-configuration

    I found that this blog has some great advice too from someone who experienced difficulties getting what she needed: https://www.whentaniatalks.com/tag/wheelchair-resources/

    I'm finding it very difficult to get Wheelchair Services to work and communicate with me. It's very frustrating!

    Keep on going, it's a long slog but you deserve to get the right thing.
  • Rifi7Rifi7 Member Posts: 188 Pioneering
    Hi Jaja,
    You need to really consider all the things you mentioned and it doesn’t have to be a complaint, your just voicing your concerns. To not say anything now will affect you in long run. I have had similar problems with my electric chair as it’s uncomfortable but I just work alongside the wheelchair people and they have rectified most of my concerns. You can get a memory foam base cushion and a strap that attaches to the back of wheelchair legs that brings your calves forward so they don’t rub.
    I also have a mobility scooter for using outside which is called a Super Scoota. I had the same trouble with kerbs but this scooter tackles them really good. It’s a three wheeler but has a stabiliser on the front wheel so it can’t topple. They came out and I tried it out, so you can try before you buy.
    If you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 8,485 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello all very interesting topic, I just accepted the first wheelchair I was given I didnt know there was any other option other than the bog standard manual chair. But seeing your comments think I will make contact with wheelchair services . I hope you get the chair you feel comfortable with or changes can be made @jaja
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @jaja, sorry to hear this. Just wanted to check in to see how you are doing.
    Community Partner
    Scope

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  • jajajaja Member Posts: 76 Pioneering
    Hello all,

    Apologies for the huge delay. I have fatigue issues so everything takes so long.

    I did take on board all of your suggestions and the outcome has been okay. After the chair was delivered they made another appointment so the engineer could visit to test I could drive it. during that visit, I voiced my concerns. I wasn't expecting much but the person was approachable. After I explained the issue he left the chair with me but said he would be willing to let me try another chair so I do have the option of two chairs. The fact that he listened to the difficulties made such a difference. Of course, the current COVID situation has meant there will be delays but I can't go out so I don't suppose it matters right now.

    I think the problems arose for me because of the attitude of the person assessing me. I tried to put my point across but it wasn't welcomed and I was treated like I didn't have a choice. As @Rifi7 said  '... your just voicing your concerns.' I needed reminding of that. I got lucky because as soon as a different person was involved it all became much easier.  I won't get the chair that I want.  I can understand that but I do think I will get a chair that fits and is comfortable. I think, like a lot of things it comes down to the individual.

    I will be looking to buy a chair so thank you for the information regarding how to approach that.

    .
    Thank you for your support and suggestions.

    Thanks
    J



  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 1,998 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi J, lovely to see you on the forum...been wondering how you are coping.

    That first chair sounds like it was suited to someone else and it had got mixed up with your assessment.

    I have always found WS to be extremely helpful and good...guess not everyone is so fortunate.

    It is a shame you cant take advantage of your new chair with all this covid stuff and staying indoors. But it is safer. Is someone helping you with your food etc?

    Keep safe chick xx
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