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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

News

  • Simon gets his electric wheelchair

    At long last paralympian Simon Richardson has the electric wheelchair he has waited a long time for. Simon who was originally injured in a road accident in 2001 when he was knocked of his bicycle leaving him with severe leg and back injuries.

    ten years on Simon was involved in another road accident, this time he was hit by a van near his home in South Wales which left him with a broken spine and wheelchair bound for life.

    Simon, who lives near Bridgend in Wales has used a self propelled chair for a number of years but found like many that it was becoming less suitable and wanted a bit more comfort and mobility. At just 48 Simon who has 2 children was finding things hard until the arrival of his new electric wheelchair which he says has made "quite a difference".

    The new chair was paid for by money raised by local friends and family and businesses who donated enough allowing him to buy the £900 chair.

    Simon became a Paralympic competitor after suffering leg and back injuries in a previous road accident involving his bicycle and a car in 2001 and won two gold and one silver medal at the 2008 Beijing games and received an MBE in 2009.

  • Wheelchair Wimbledon is just around the corner

    With Wimbledon just around the corner, it was great to see that we have a total of 5 British wheelchair tennis players in the doubles this year which is a record !

    Grand slam champs Jordanne Whiley and Gordon Reid are among a record five Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Performance Programme set to contest the men’s and women’s wheelchair tennis doubles events at The Championships, Wimbledon this year after wild cards were announced today for debutants Louise Hunt and Alfie hewett.

    The championships have been put back by 1 week this year to give players the chance for some rest and relaxation after the Aegon Championships in Eastbourne this week.
    Wheelchair user Jordanne Whiley had this to say “Wimbledon is my favourite tournament and to win there last year as part of the calendar Grand Slam was the realisation of a dream since I was a young child,” said Whiley. “Yui and I really wanted to repeat the calendar Grand Slam again this year and had a tough final at Roland Garros, but we’ll learn from that experience and will thrive off the home support at Wimbledon and aim to keep that title where it belongs.”

    It should be interesting with a total of £64,000 in prize money is on offer for the wheelchair tennis doubles competition and the event will be played from Friday 10th July to Sunday 12th July.

  • Wimbledon electric scooters and folding wheelchairs

    An update on parking and accessibility.

    A limited number of parking spaces for small electric scooters (pavement vehicles only) is available inside the Grounds. The scooters must not be left unattended except in designated areas; a uniformed security guard will advise a suitable parking location.
    Folding wheelchairs may be left in a designated space at Gate 4 if arranged with a Steward or a uniformed Security Officer.

  • More bars to become wheelchair friendly

    At last a motion to make more bars wheelchair accessible. Although in recent years many public areas have become far more accessible for us wheelchair users, there has never been action planned for bars to be included in the list of public places that deserve better access for the disabled.

    It is not only bars that ministers are being urged to include in this recent action. It is planned to make more shops and restaurants more wheelchair friendly also. Currently the law states that businesses such as shops, restaurants and bars must make “reasonable adjustments” to overcome barriers to access but there is little detail and not much in the way of actual stipulations.

    Gordon Aikman, a motor neurone disease sufferer and campaigner and Sunday Times columnist, warned of a raft of “get-out clauses” including cost which some bar and restaurant owners and operators may use as a valid objection not to comply.

    “How can it be right that we put a price on equal access? It is time we beefed up the legislation and demanded a higher standard,” he writes today. “Life on wheels means accepting limitations. I am now barred from thousands of places. Think about your favourite restaurant: could you get to the entrance, through the door and to a table in a wheelchair? Too often the answer is no.” Aikman.

    Certainly in the South West there is a good percentage of wheelchair friendly shops, bars and restaurants but it would be good to see this percentage increased. Bars, it seems, are not the easiest of arenas to conquer with ease and traditional pubs are much the same. Often as not this is due to the nature of the building and the aged design making suitable conversion more complex and therefore more costly.

    Let's hope this situation improves soon for all wheelchair users across the land.

  • Mobility access at Wimbledon

    Viewing areas for Wheelchair users

    Centre Court

    There are reserved spaces for wheelchair users (ticket holders only) on Centre Court at the south end via Gangway 101, at the north end via Gangway 109 between Gangway 206 & 207 and at Level 5 via lifts at the south-east, north-east and north-west of the stadium.

    No.1 Court

    There are reserved spaces for wheelchair users (ticket holders only) on No.1 Court on Level 2 (East, Gangways 8 & 12 and West, Gangways 26 & 30), both areas accessible via the SW Hall or the Aorangi Pavilion forecourt.

    No.2 Court

    There are reserved spaces for wheelchair users (ticket holders only) on No.2 Court on the south side via Gangways 8 and 9.

    No.3 Court

    There are reserved spaces for wheelchair users (ticket holders only) on No.3 Court on the west side via Gangway 10.

    Court 12

    There is an unreserved viewing area set aside in front of the west stand of Court 12.

    Court 18

    There is limited unreserved space for wheelchair users on the east side of Court 18. Access is via St Mary’s Walk and the central entrance to the court level stand.

    Courts 14, 15, 16, 17 & 19

    There is limited unreserved space for wheelchair users on the west side of Courts 14, 15, 16, 17 and at the south-east corner of Court 19.

    Courts 4 & 8

    There is limited unreserved space for wheelchair users on the west side of these courts.

    Courts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11

    There is limited unreserved space for wheelchair users on the east side of these courts.

    Large Screen & Aorangi Terrace

    The main grass level of the Aorangi Terrace, from which the Large Screen may be viewed, has ramped access and a reserved area.

  • Childrens wheelchairs shortage within NHS Halifax

    We read with interest over the past few weeks about the failure to supply enough of the right types of children's wheelchairs both manual and electric which is leading to problems across the NHS in some areas.

    This started and is still focused in Halifax Yorkshire where concerns originally started with the waiting times for wheelchair assessments for children, meaning that children with severe disabilities or post operation were going without the consultation required. Children were forced to either go without or some were found using ill-fitting wheelchairs which were leading to discomfort and pressure sores in the worst cases. Factor in a child's growth and you can see the need for frequent assessments to ensure that a well fitted chair is used.

    In Halifax, the supply of children's wheelchairs has been carried out by Opcare a private healthcare company which appears to have been selected on a cost basis alone. At the local general hospital Martin Pursey, head of procurement at Kirklees CCG, said: “When Opcare took over the contract there were 158 children awaiting assessment and provision of equipment including electric wheelchairs. An additional 165 referrals have been received for children since the service started and a total of 259 children have now been assessed.”

    If you are fortunate enough to be able to find wheelchair assessment elsewhere, we can then supply you with options on the best suited wheelchair for your child here

  • NHS reforms taking too long

    It was barely a year ago that NHS England launched their Wheelchair Services Improvement Programme aimed at yes improving these services following many complaints that they were simply not good enough. The long term aim of the groups that have been set up is to form the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance that will govern all associated services. Unfortunately progress is slow since it was announced in April 2014.

    Sir Bert Massie, former chairman of the Disability Rights Commission which advised the previous Labour government on equality legislation for disabled people, has said he cannot see any improvements to services as a result.

    here's now a much wider range of wheelchairs available than there was 40 years ago," he says. "But the problem of getting an assessment quickly, and a wheelchair that meets your needs quickly, is still very hit and miss and depends on where you live."

    One man who is a full time wheelchair user and has been since 2007 when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease was invited to attend both of the summits organised by the NHS last year, his comment was that he felt the NHS was just paying lip service to those affected like himself. Liam has experienced several problems with wheelchairs supplied by the NHS and has since bought his own to get around these problems.

    Another example Mr Dwyer cites relates to him having a fall in 2009, when broke his ribs and was not able to propel his manual chair by himself. The couple asked the NHS to loan them a powered chair while his injuries healed. It took five months to arrive, by which time Dwyer had recovered. The chair, however, was too small.

    Over time as Mr Dwyers conditioned developed he was no longer able to use a self propelled chair due to his grip deteriorating so he was assessed for a new chair and told by the NHS that there was not sufficient funding to provide what was needed.

    After despairing with the NHS Mr Dwyer and his wife decided to approach the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which agreed to fund a new chair which Dwyer says arrived within 22 days. Though the NHS didn't pay for it, they are still responsible for its maintenance. After reporting an intermittent fault, Dwyer recently had to wait 164 days for the NHS to repair his chair. Delays like this frustrate Dwyer. He points out that friends of his have died in a short space of time after receiving a diagnosis of MND and cannot afford to wait for a wheelchair.

    Lets hope we can see some swift progress to help improve this situation and assist those in genuine need like Mr Dwyer. There may be hope as Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has been appointed to lead the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance, which met for the first time in March. The group is made up of representatives with an interest in these services, such as providers and organisations that represent wheelchair users.

    The group is writing a charter that it hopes will be taken seriously which lays out the precise changes they would like to see. A draft is already prepared and it is hoped it will be finalised before too long.

  • An invisible mobility lift

    Wheelchair access became one step easier for a certain lady when she decided to install an invisible lift at her home is Scotland.

    The property that has recently gone on the market comes complete with a remote controlled wheelchair lift that allows easy access despite there being 3 or 4 steps to the front door. The listed listed property in Gayfield Square Edinburgh got permission from the Edinburgh Council's Listed Building Department to deliver this beautiful restoration.

    The house owner Dr Goodden commissioned a team of experts to create a lift access to the ground floor, via the existing entrance staircase. It operates by lowering a section of the existing staircase down level with the pavement, allowing a wheelchair user to easily board, and then rises up to meet floor level at the entrance door. A raised step at the back prevents the user from rolling back wile being elevated. When not in use it is literally invisible.

    This type of conversion is not within the financial reach of most disabled people but does show what mobility means to us all. It will make a very attractive asset to a prospective house buyer who has mobility needs. The wheelchair lift was a joint effort by Sesame Mobility who worked with David Blaikie Architects.

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI-dVC7Smak[/embed]

    Doctor Goodden had this to say:
    "I don't want to give up."

    "When wheelchair bound I intend to wheel myself everywhere.

    "It's shocking something like this cost the best part of £100,000 but it will be a marvellous aid for the right kind of family who perhaps need such a device.

    "It is a work of art and it was all worth it from a disability and an aesthetic point of view.

    "It's a wonderful bit of design of which I am proud.

    "It has given me everything I hoped for - I can go to and fro without asking a passer-by to help me down the steps

    "It feels like best use of money I've made in my life

    "It was very important to have won back the freedom I felt I did not have for a long time."

  • No chair for Isaac

    Hypermobility syndrome victim sent home without wheelchair.

    Nine year old Isaac was sent home from a hospital in Kent without receiving a wheelchair having been diagnosed with joint hyper mobility syndrome which leaves him unable to stand nor walk.

    Instead he was forced to wait until the Red Cross was able to find him a suitable wheelchair albeit a rather old and worn one. Mum Natasha says red tape prevented Isaac, who was diagnosed with joint hyper mobility syndrome, from receiving a modern chair from the hospital when he left it on March 13, commenting “We just found it appalling that the hospital sent him home without a wheelchair.

    “I asked the Wheelchair Service why he hadn’t been given one and they said it was because they hadn’t received a referral for one.

    “They later said it was because they thought Isaac wouldn’t need one for as long as six months so therefore didn’t qualify for one.

    “I felt like we were trapped in some sort of bureaucratic mess.

    "We just found it appalling that the hospital sent him home without a wheelchair... I felt like we were trapped in some sort of bureaucratic mess..." - Natasha McIntosh
    “But what it meant was that I had to pull the car right up to the house and carry in him in. Then he dragged himself around the floor and up to the sofa if he wanted to sit down.

    “I would have to pick him up even though I suffer with a bad back.”

    Eventually on the 16th the Wheelchair Service at the hospital rang her to apologise and to arrange for a modern chair to be delivered to him.

    Joint hypertension mobility syndrome is often called being double-jointed and in Isaac’s case he can bend joints far more than other people. But it can create stiffness and pain in joints as well as swelling and makes standing and walking virtually impossible currently. Hopefully with the help of some physiotherapy Isaac will be walking soon and be able to say goodbye to his wheelchair! Good luck!

  • Call for better safety on public transport

    In the news again is the call for wheelchairs to be anchored in vehicles and particularly public transport including buses.

    Over the past few years, there have been a number of incidents where wheelchairs have become unstable and even skidded about the floors of buses and trains when there is a moderate force applied such as breaking and cornering.

    In Queensland Australia, a woman was traveling by bus in her electric wheelchair when it skidded across the aisle into the door as the bus negotiated a roundabout. The Australian authorities have called for compulsory restraints in buses by anchoring them to wither the floor or the wall to prevent such occurrences. Apart from possible danger to the wheelchair user, there is also potential danger to other occupants particularly where heavier electric models are in use.

    Public transport should be accessible to all but also it needs to be safe. In addition, bus drivers must consider the needs of all passengers and drive with due care and attention to help avoid these instances wherever possible.

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