Wiltshire Wheelchair and Special Seating Service
Written by a carer
4th May 2015
Being a health professional myself having worked with adults with spinal cord injury for over 17 years, I know wheelchair services can be a bit of a postcode lottery but some have very dynamic forward thinking therapists involved. Wiltshire has completely the opposite! Antiquated, judgemental, and the opposite of dynamic!
I went for an initial assessment for my 4 year old son who has Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. The key thing for him is that he can already propel himself in a standing wheelchair and has good spatial awareness. As an active user, he needs something easy to propel and lightweight (to encourage appropriate use).
Active user for Wiltshire = Action chairs!!! They should be called inaction chairs. From working with adults in these, they are cumbersome, heavy and hugely impractical. The reason they are chosen is they are cheap and the only other advantage is they are adaptable (I suppose I should give them that!).
The assessment made me feel I was screaming in a glass box, I have never felt so patronised and it is clear that the therapist in charge of that service has never had first hand experience of dealing with a disability as she would never make such recommendations if she had! She had made the judgement about what she was going to give my son as soon as we walked through the door.
In fact recommendation is too strong a word as it is based on no more clinical judgement than a non therapist would have. In fact if you put a care pathway in place with a flow diagram you could replace her with a rehab therapist and save a few thousand leaving more money in the pot for vital pieces of equipment!
In 2015, people with disabilities should be able to access the cutting edge of developments and technology along with professionals with vision. This long term, cuts costs and maximises people's independence. Wiltshire WCS unfortunately typifies everything that is truly dreadful about the UK's vision of disability.