A disabled 14-year-old girl has had her summer holidays ruined and looks set to miss out on the holiday of a lifetime because she cannot get a new wheelchair.
The girl, who suffers with cerebral palsy, has been waiting since May for a larger manual chair but has been left in limbo amid the privatisation of Huddersfield and Calderdale’s wheelchair service.
As reported, the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust (CHFT) lost the contract earlier this year to private firm.
The new provider is thought to be taking over in September.
The girl’s mother, who does not want to be named, said the lack of a suitable wheelchair had kept the whole family stuck indoors over the summer holidays and was now threatening her place on the ‘Dreamflights’ scheme in October - a charity that sends disabled youngsters on holiday to Florida.
She said: “We were put on the list for a new chair in May and had the assessment on July 3 and we’re still waiting.
“As it stands nobody knows what’s going on.
“We’ve had six weeks of summer holiday and we’ve not been able to get out.
“Her current chair is far too small and it’s causing problems with her posture.
“We know this new provider is taking over but we don’t think they’ll be able to clear the back log in time.
“We aren’t able to appeal to charity because most only supply electric ones. This should be covered by the NHS – it’s a statutory obligation.”
The mum said her daughter was hoping for a manual wheelchair with a slight camber to the wheels to allow her to push herself when she could.
“It’s not like we’re screaming for an all singing and dancing electric wheelchair,” she said.
“It’s not the most expensive by any means.
“She’s got an electric one that was provided by a charity – that’s over five years old and is also way too small.
“But she needs something that’s easier for her to push but also has attendant handles.
“She can’t walk much, she’s 95% in her chair outside of school, and she needs a chair that fits her needs.
“We’re totally stuck.
“Managers at the wheelchair service have been good but they can’t get any answers and seem to be hitting the same brick wall.”
Director of Commissioning and Partnerships at CHFT, Anna Basford, said: “We are sorry that there are delays in the service at the moment.
“We are working with clinical commissioning group colleagues and with the new provider to resolve this as soon as possible.”
Carol McKenna, Chief Officer of Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “ We are sorry to hear of the difficulties and always welcome patient feedback on the services we are responsible for planning and buying.
“We have recently overhauled the specification for wheelchair services across Kirklees to deliver a better, more responsive service based on what patients told us they wanted to see.
“A new provider won the contract to deliver the new wheelchair service and we are in the process of putting the service in place over the next few weeks.”