Families receiving disability aids for children a 'challenge'

Disabled children may have to wait up to a year to receive aids Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples

"Considerable variations" is the phrase that watchdogs use when they mean that some local care bodies are great, others are rubbish. And that's the phrase the Care Quality Commission rolls out today in a report on services for Disabled children.

21 Primary Care Trusts, for example, managed to provide powered wheelchairs for youngsters on demand -- with no waiting time. But in Camden you would wait 77 weeks, in Halton & St. Helens, 43 weeks, in Islington, 45 weeks, in Knowsley, 44 weeks and in Norfolk, 44 weeks. That's waiting a year for an essential piece of kit while others can get it instantly.

Services like physio and speech therapy suffer from similar "variations". The national average wait for a referral for community physiotherapy was seven weeks, with some children waiting up to six months and the average wait for a referral to a community occupational therapist was 15 weeks but could be as long as two years!

Not surprisingly families felt getting things like wheelchairs was "a challenge".

Sue McMillan from CQC, said: "We were disappointed a proportion of PCTs were unable to provide the data we asked for ...If commissioners don't have information about the children and services they're responsible for, how do they know they are meeting the needs of their communities?"

So come on laggards, pull your fingers out.

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