Wheelchair Services – email reply regarding speed etc.

As I mentioned, I had sent Ms.Bush an email with a few questions about the power chair they want me to have, as usual the reply (when I finally got it) wasn’t particularly helpful.

My first question was about speed, I think that a 6 mp/h chair is safer than a 4 mp/h one for various reasons, including the ability to dodge crazy cars appearing out of nowhere and travelling insanely fast, I’ve also had to avoid cars suddenly reversing more than once and would most likely have been seriously injured if the chair went slower than 6 mp/h.  Her reply was –

The NHS complies with English law and is restricted to issuing pavement vehicles at 6kmh.Privately purchased wheelchairs may have a higher speed, but this would be theresponsibility of the purchaser as to where it would be used.

Which is strange as they provided me with a 6 mp/h chair before and I know other Wheelchair Services have provided chairs that go more than 4 mp/h, the law she is stating regards Class 2 and Class 3 vehicles which says that any vehicle driving on a pavement must not exceed 6 km/h, it does not say Wheelchair Services or the NHS can only provide 6 km/h chairs.

A chair purchased on the voucher scheme would beexpected to last for 5 years before returning to the wheelchair service for replacement.Remaining with the NHS provision allows changing needs to be met by the wheelchairservice. I t is my clinical judgement and that of Mr.Ken RE that it would be clinicallyinappropriate for you to be issued with a voucher.

My concerns about this comment are not purely that I don’t think she can say that my needs will change drastically within five years, especially as they haven’t changed much in the last five years, and she hasn’t consulted any healthcare professional involved in my care. I am also concerned that an engineer is giving clinical advice about a medical condition, surely that’s not something he is qualified to do, and this was not the only place in the email where she referred to his clinical opinion.

Most of the rest of the email wasn’t so interesting, they seem to have there own definition for several words which are different to mine (and the Oxford English Dictionaries), she said the invacare Storm 4 does not support electric recline, which it does, and made a few other comments which were blatantly untrue.

I have sent her another email to ask her to clarify her comments, unfortunately like a lot of NHS and Social Services staff she is off for half term so I will have to wait over a week for her reply.

So more waiting, but I guess that’s what everyone needs to expect from a government department.

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