Cerebral palsy sufferer Lucas faces long wait for his NHS wheelchair
AT FOUR years old, he’s too old to be in a pushchair.
But schoolboy Lucas Town may have to wait up to six months for a wheelchair because of NHS funding problems.
The disabled youngster – who has cerebral palsy – has been placed on a long waiting list by the Huddersfield’s NHS wheelchair service.
The service, run by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, provides wheelchairs to patients with long-term needs.
But because there is “increased demand” and “too much pressure on the service,” patients are facing lengthy waits for the vital equipment they desperately need.
Lucas – who currently relies on a special buggy to get around – was told he would qualify for a wheelchair as he approached the age of five.
But with his fifth birthday fast approaching, he looks set to be stuck with the special pushchair he has outgrown.
Mum Gail, of Waterloo, said: “We don’t want him being classed as a baby so we are trying to get him this wheelchair to make him feel more grown up and independent.
“We don’t mind waiting a month or two but to be told it could be another six months is a long time.
“Having to wait for a wheelchair is so unfair, especially for elderly people who might be struggling to get out.
“Sometimes I just feel we are hitting our heads against a brick wall.”
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust admits its resources are stretched to the limit.
A basic wheelchair can cost up to £500 and many need adapting to suit individual patients.
A spokesman said: “There are resources which are under pressure at the moment as there are increased demands on the service.
“We are working to address this and are working hard to keep any delays to a minimum.
“We hope they will reduce as soon as possible.”