Wheelchair user: "They are a necessity, not a luxury"

A powered wheelchair user from Leicester is backing a national campaign to improve wheelchair services.

A new report by a muscular dystrophy charity said waiting times for specialist wheelchairs are too long, and more financial help for those needing chairs was needed.

23-year-old Vivek Gohil shared his experience as part of the new report, 'Get Moving'.

When I was ten I was bedbound for eight months owing to delays in receiving an appropriate chair. Thirteen years on I'm still hearing of people who are having the same problems. I have a muscle-wasting condition and need proper support for my spine. It is just not possible to get a specialised wheelchair that is suitable for me on the NHS - the basic wheelchairs leave you feeling uncomfortable and in constant pain.

Last year I was lucky enough to receive a specialised chair which cost £19,500 - fully funded by charity money. There is no way I would be able to afford this out of my own pocket - the chair is four times more expensive than my sister's first car. The NHS cannot continue to keep quiet on the topic of funding these wheelchairs. They are a necessity, not a luxury.

– Vivek Gohil

The report, launched by the charity Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, collated the experience of 600 people affected by muscular dystrophy and related conditions.


Wheelchair services campaign

Campaigners from the East Midlands will meet with MPs and NHS leaders in London today, demanding improved wheelchair services.