This week I attended a reception held by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to raise awareness of the charity’s new report which highlights the problems in the provision of wheelchairs for adults and children living with neuromuscular conditions. Wheelchairs that are essential for the health and quality of life of people with muscular disease in England are not always readily available, with some people being forced to wait for months and even years. Some people who don’t get the type of wheelchair they need are forced to pay out of their own pocket due to a lack of funding and understanding of neuromuscular conditions among NHS decision makers.
This new report calls on the new coalition government to set a national target of a maximum of 18 weeks waiting time for wheelchairs as well as an adequate ring-fenced budget to be established for electric wheelchairs in each Primary Care Trust and Specialised Commissioning Group.
For many people with a neuromuscular condition the right wheelchair is vital for their independence and quality of life, while access to the right equipment at the right time cam also help to slow the progression of the condition and improve their prognosis.