Inquiry into wheelchair wait

anonymous wheelchair, disability
Some people wait up to eighteen months for a suitable wheelchair Photo: ITV News Wales

The Assembly's Health and Social Care Committee is holding an inquiry today to try to find out why patients in Wales are having to wait up to 18 months to be given the wheelchairs they need.

Two years ago they launched a damning report about the problem, and charities say little has changed since then. The report highlighted a disparity in the standard of service between North and South Wales. It found people in the North waited longer for wheelchairs than those in the South, and users with complex needs, including children, often suffered the longest waits with detrimental impacts on their mobility, growth and development

Joseph Carter of the Wales Neurological Alliance says it has a detrimental psychological effect.

Among the report's recommendations two years ago was a strategic plan to give direction to the service, a pooling of existing budgets to provide equipment for users and a more performance-measured approach to monitoring services. In total the report contained 23 recommendations, all of which were accepted by then Minister for Health and Social Services in June 2010.

Today they will be gathering evidence from wheelchair users, practitioners, charitable providers, the NHS in Wales and policy makers.