Help Bilton girl’s fight for a wheelchair

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A 12-year-old girl unable to walk to her local park or shops will no longer have a motorised wheelchair provided by the NHS.

Megan Richardson, 12, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has had a chair provided by NHS wheelchair services in Warwickshire since she was five. But the Avon Valley student won’t be getting a new one unless her mother, Sarah, can get one donated by charity.

The NHS have said that according to their criteria Megan no longer needs an electric wheelchair, but her mother has said that without one, her quality of life will suffer.

Sarah, who lives in Bilton, said: “My daughter can’t have a life without a motorised chair – because of her condition she struggles to go anywhere without an adult pushing her because she can’t always push herself. It means she can’t go to the shops, to the park, or on days out without help.”

The cost of a suitable new chair could run into several thousand pounds. Sarah added: “She’s had a chair provided since the age of five and now that she’s outgrown her current chair, she needs a more suitable one to help her live her life. Some days she can move around the house, but some days are worse than others. She can’t go far from home without having an adult there to help her, which makes socialising with her friends difficult. What girl her age wants adults present when they socialise?”

Her mother was originally told by a physiotherapist that an electric wheelchair could be provided, but since then the offer has been withdrawn.

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust said that wheelchairs are provided only to those who need mobility help in their home environment, and that Megan no longer had eligible needs. A spokesman said: “The aim of the Warwickshire Wheelchair Service is to provide a comprehensive assessment of mobility needs and associated posture and seating to new and existing wheelchair users, which may involve other healthcare professionals. Secondly, is to provide appropriate mobility equipment to meet their clinical needs and to enable mobility in the home environment.”

They added: “The Warwickshire Wheelchair Service eligibility criteria has not changed, and provision is based on the person having eligible needs. This applies also to those clients being reviewed and it is not automatic that wheelchairs are reissued.”

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