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.

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Wheelchair services campaign

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