A young girl’s struggle to get a wheelchair in Scotland

The long wait for a suitable wheelchair

A 10-year-old girl from Glasgow, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, has been waiting for more than six years to get a wheelchair that meets her needs. Her current wheelchair is too small, uncomfortable, and does not support her posture or head. She needs a new wheelchair that can help her communicate, access education, and enjoy life.

Her father, John, has been campaigning for better wheelchair services in Scotland, and has raised more than £20,000 to buy a custom-made wheelchair for his daughter. However, he says that the wheelchair is still not ready, and he does not know when it will be delivered.

He says that the NHS wheelchair service in Scotland is underfunded, understaffed, and overwhelmed by the demand. He says that there are thousands of children and adults in Scotland who are waiting for a suitable wheelchair, and that some of them have died before getting one.

He says that he is frustrated and angry by the lack of action from the Scottish government, and that he wants to see a national wheelchair strategy that ensures fair and timely access to wheelchairs for everyone who needs them.

The impact of the wheelchair shortage on disabled people

The wheelchair shortage in Scotland has a significant impact on the lives of disabled people and their families. Without a suitable wheelchair, disabled people face barriers to their health, education, employment, and social inclusion.

According to the charity Leonard Cheshire, more than one in four disabled people in Scotland say that they have been unable to access a wheelchair that meets their needs. The charity says that this is a human rights issue, and that disabled people deserve dignity, independence, and choice.

wheelchair in Scotland

The charity also says that the wheelchair shortage costs the Scottish economy millions of pounds every year, as disabled people are less likely to work, study, or participate in society. The charity estimates that if all disabled people in Scotland had access to a suitable wheelchair, the economy could benefit by £239 million per year.

The charity is calling on the Scottish government to invest more in wheelchair services, and to implement a national wheelchair strategy that sets clear standards and targets for wheelchair provision.

The response from the Scottish government

The Scottish government says that it is committed to improving wheelchair services in Scotland, and that it has invested £15 million in the past five years to reduce waiting times and increase capacity.

The government says that it is working with NHS boards, local authorities, and third sector organisations to develop a national wheelchair strategy, and that it expects to publish a draft strategy by the end of this year.

The government also says that it recognises the challenges faced by disabled people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that it has provided additional funding and guidance to support them.

The government says that it values the feedback and views of disabled people and their families, and that it will continue to engage with them to ensure that their needs are met.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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