"My daughter's wheelchair repair is not being treated as urgent"

About: Primary and community services / Sheffield Mobility & Specialised Rehab Centre

(as a relative),

I have numerous positive stories regarding the nursing care my daughter, who has cerebral palsy, has received during her 29 years. Mainly through the Sheffield's Childrens Hospital and Hallamshire Hospital neurological ward.

However, my cause for concern is the lack of understanding with regard to meeting the needs of those, like my daughter, with severe mobility and communication difficulties. This is usually in connection with the equipment she needs, which takes an age to obtain in the first place, and when it fails is not treated as urgent.

Four weeks have elapsed since I reported that her father had to make a temporary repair to her CAPS II seat for her wheelchair. Parts were ordered for the permanent repair without any offer to a) check the temporary repair b) establish the exact cause of the failure through inspection. I was told that the parts would take four weeks to arrive from the manufacturer and then a date to carry out the repair would be arranged. I have telephoned 3 times since then to explain the urgency and to tell them of an identical failure on the opposite side of the chair: then today, to establish whether the parts have been received.

The helpful worker for the specialist mobility and rehabilitation unit based on the Northern General Hospital site in Sheffield was extremely apologetic, but explained that there was nothing she could do to speed the process up and she did not know when the parts would be received. She said that she would explore it for me, and let me know.

There is a risk to her carers and to my daughter until the repair has been carried out. No-one has questioned me about the risk and there doesn't seem to be a process for prioritising repairs based on the level of risk.

The parts in question are standard 'small' parts and had it been a vehicle I wanted repairing, would have been available within a day or so.

What concerns me also is that, according to the worker I'd spoken to, the repair team has a substantial amount of work in process and I have no way of knowing when the repair will be carried out because this can only be established when the parts have been received.

My daughter has no alternative seating arrangements at home or means of mobility. If we are unable to maintain the temporary repair then I do not know what solution I can apply.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››