This article describes how a disabled woman had to crowdfund her wheelchair because: “She was offered a standard NHS-issue wheelchair – but at 20kg (3st 2lb) it would have been too heavy for her and potentially dangerous, given her condition.”
This is not accurate, and it does a disservice to people who are struggling with the NHS and the NHS itself. I know that this information is inaccurate because I am in my third NHS-provided chair, and it weighs 14.2kg. The NHS has been under tremendous pressure to meet targets while their funding has been drastically cut, but an Action3 is still within the accepted category for NHS issue. It’s not a fancy basketball chair, but it’s sturdy and relatively comfortable and it’s a perfect chair for urban and some rural rolling as well. And they are affordable, even for a cash-strapped NHS. Last time I checked the were selling for just over £500.00
I live in East London where not all kerbs are ramped and some of the surfaces can be pretty rugged, and I get around just fine in my NHS chair.
I can understand complaining about some of the hoops we have to jump through as disabled citizens, but it does a disservice to this story to have gotten the facts wrong or to have exaggerated.
Of course I could be wrong, and maybe the NHS has tightened up the criteria as to what qualifies as an acceptable chair since I got my last chair from them
I am not trying to start an argument with any parents with kids in prams that need to use the bus, but I agree with this ruling.
For the record, unless I am on a schedule, I will often take the next bus if the one I am trying to board is crowded and there is a baby buggy in the spot. However, most trips are scheduled, and so I believe that several points need to be considered as regards this territorial debate.
1. As a wheelchair user in London, I don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to public transportation. The step-free tube stations are still scarce, and the overground doesn’t run throughout the city extensively enough to be a viable option. Unless I pony up the money to take a cab, my only choice is the bus. The bus is my primary, and almost only means of getting round London on public transportation.
2. I can’t fold up my wheelchair and sit in a regular seat. Buggies fold, and kids can sit on laps.
3. The space was originally designed for wheelchairs, not for prams. It’s fortunate for pram pushers that the space is there when there are no wheelchair users on the bus, but when someone in a chair needs the space that was designed for wheelchairs, then it’s only right that the person in the space relinquish it to the wheelchair user
So this is important.
Up to 500 disabled people every week have had to give back the vehicles that help them stay independent because of a new tough benefits rule.
The Government “Motability” scheme allows disabled people to lease mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and cars.
But every week, between 400 and 500 people are forced to hand over their vehicles after a controversial “20-metre rule” was introduced, according to a report by a leading charity.