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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Wheelchair News

  • 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.

  • Stair climbing wheelchairs - or perhaps not

    In the past few weeks there has been a lot of chat and speculation about the new generation of stair climbing wheelchairs and their miraculous capabilities.

    Much of this rhetoric has occurred on social media sites where a video animation of a man in his wheelchair shows the chair climbing stairs. However i think there is little reality in this animation and the information is sketchy and written in Turkish.

    It would appear that the whole saga stems from a prototype that was built about 6 years ago that had a wheelchair with tracks that allowed the chair to mount, climb and descend stairs as well as reclining and extending the users legs out straight. This prototype was named Galileo at the time.

    The second stair climbing wheelchair has Swiss origin and looks like it may become more of a reality and is the creation of a group of students studying mechanical and electrical engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH).

    As and when i find more information on this i will be reporting back!

  • Ultra light electric boot scooters

    Having sold many of the Zinger electric wheelchairs we have been on the search recently for other chairs that come in the same category. That is lightweight, easy to fold making them ultimately portable and reliable. These are sometimes referred to as Boot Scooters !

    The good news is that other manufacturers are coming up with designs that are similar and that get away from the traditional setup with cumbersome steering yolks and heavy chassis making them anything but portable. There is a large proportion of disabled users who want and need the ability to arrive at their destination by car or train and be able to easily deploy their electric wheelchair to allow them to get on with their day. This means that the unit has to be light enugh to be lifted in and out of the boot, bus or train carriage.

    On a recent visit to Naidex at the Birmingham NEC we were able to find a few models that fit this bill. The use of new and different materials is making this type of chair easier to manufacture. Clever designs that allow removal of parts is becoming more common, making the chair lighter and less bulky. One one such model we were amazed to see how light the battery unit was which has made significant weight reduction possible making the chair about 20KGs which is in the range of what most folk can lift without difficulty.

    Models like the Genie, the Smarty and the Mobie from Monarch were some examples of this new ultra portable powerchair coming to the market. The Smarty is so called because not only is it fairly compact and lightweight but it also folds itself at the click of a button, making it ready to be lifted in to the boot of the car or on to the train. Once folded all of the models form very compact units that have easy to reach handles ready to be carried or wheeled to their storage.

    So what are the downsides of the new electric wheelchairs and what should be we looking out for ? As with all things that are made to become lighter in weight, there is a tendency for the strength to decrease in line with the weight. Many of the more traditional powerchairs will easily accommodate users up to 21 stone. They are built with a sensible gauge of steel or aluminium frame and all the components that are married to the wheelchair frame are of a similar duty build. This provides strength and stability.

    Another consequence of reducing powerchair weight is often reducing the range it is capable of between charges as manufacturers resort to smaller batteries. The use of lithium based cells are now more commonplace in electric wheelchairs.

    Finally look at the number of parts the model breaks down in to. The main focus here is generally the battery. Most of these are removable so that the weight can be reduced prior to lifting. You need to be confident that you or your helper are comfortable with lifting the biggest and or heaviest chair component.

    We will soon be adding some of these models to our online store once we have tested the units and been able to assess exactly what and who they are suited to. In the meanwhile please visit our selection of electric wheelchairs by clicking here.

  • 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."

  • Chair selection - we revisit this important topic

    We sell many many wheelchairs over the course of a year and have done so for over ten years. We are very lucky with our staff, many of whom are family and have worked for us at UK-Wheelchairs for several years. Over this time their depth of product knowledge has increased and their ability to advise others on what type of wheelchair is most suitable has improved. We supply many different brands and many different types so there is a lot to learn about. From transit to self propelled or manual models, specialist models like tilt in space or reclining and of course models designed for children or pediatric wheelchairs as they are often referred to.

    Our experience helps us to select the right wheelchair for you

    Then each brand or manufacturer has its own quirks and intricacies. For some users, build quality is paramount whereas others maybe looking for a budget wheelchair as they only have short term requirements due to injury or operation. Either way, assessing ones mobility needs is key to supplying the right chair.

    Lifestyle consideration and its impact on chair selection

    Another big consideration is the lifestyle of the wheelchair user. We're all different and therefore have different requirements. Some of us have more active lifestyles than others, particularly younger users. Others simply want maximum comfort and ease of transfer. We pride ourselves in knowing the entire range of chairs that we sell. We are in a very good position to supply the right model once we have listened to you and understand how and where the wheelchair will be used. Many folk receive good advice from their doctors medical specialists or following accidents occupational therapists will often assist in selecting the right type and even model for your needs.

    Once you have selected the right one you then have a massive range of wheelchair accessories to ensure that you are both safe and comfortable and for many the right look is also important. Luckily over recent years, design has become more important and the looks of mobility equipment has improved massively. There are now colour choices for most wheelchairs so users can now differentiate theirs from others. Similarly specialist clothing is now available in more vibrant colours. Cushions can be bought to suit both size and seat width but also have patterns designs and other features to make them more appealing.

    Selecting accessories and clothing

    So here at UK-Wheelchairs our quest to supply the most suitable mobility equipment goes on and we are confident that if you want advise that we can give you the time to make sure you select the right wheelchair. So how do we start ?

      • The first choice is whether it is going to be self propelled, pushed by an other often referred to as an attendant or electric powered?
      • Secondly is it for permanent or for occasional use ?
      • Thirdly is it going to be used indoors or outside?
      • Finally is it going to be transported by car?

    With this information in place we can begin to narrow down the choice of wheelchair and start to propose some models to fit your budget and individual needs. There are pros and cons for each type of chair and with so much choice it can be difficult to know where to start without the right advice.

    Your physical ability

    We pay attention to your physical state and your ability to stand, your balance and of course stability. Depending on your disability these all vary enormously. We also consider the layout of your home and other places where you spend most of your time. We can then assess whether you need to go through narrow doorways or down corridors, whether you need to tackle steps or lifts etc. Even small intricacies like where your power plugs are sited can make a difference to the type of wheelchair that we would suggest as some are designed to make leaning and turning more easy.

    Need more help ? Please watch these videos:

    [embed]https://youtu.be/S5CvZP6k8l8[/embed]

    We could ramble on for a long time at this point but instead we encourage you to call us so that our experience can help guide your decision. But if you are interested and want to read on we look into more intricate things like frame design and wheel size, both of which affect the ease of manoeuvre. Basically, the larger the rear wheels are the easier it is for the wheelchair to manoeuvre. The positioning of the wheels in relation to the user also make a difference. Some wheelchairs have an adjustable axle for this reason, this allows the positioning of the wheels to be adjusted in relation to the users position, which means it requires less effort to move the chair forward. Other big considerations are storage and transportation. Many chairs spend most of their lives in use and rarely have to be folded. If this is the case then the ease of which this can be carried out is if less importance. If you are a user who travels frequently and or needs to fold the chair away for storage then we would propose a different model that caters for this.

    Wheelchair seat size and seat angle also have an affect on the maneuverability and comfort for the user. In addition, the positioning of the feet in relation to the body also influences levels of comfort and accessibility. We often refer to standard wheelchairs which tend to be cheaper or active user models that do cost more but also allow a greater level of adjustment to ensure user comfort. This is more important when the user spends more time in their chair so that they receive better support and higher levels of comfort to avoid pressure sores.

    Wheelchair selection assistance

    Of course if you are dependent on being pushed we also like to consider the requirements of your carer or attendant. It is equally important that they too are comfortable if they are likely to be pushing you in your wheelchair for long periods of time. Push handle height and grip are key factors. These have to be just right to avoid the attendant getting either back ache or sore hands. Similarly wheelchair weight is a big consideration also, as they will be the ones pushing you and the chair and indeed lifting and folding it for transport or storage.

    So where else can you get some useful tips ? Why not try these videos and informational articles for more advice - the NHS is a great resource of knowledge:

    Looking beyond the standard wheelchair This video displays the options if you are not wanting an NHS model

    Independent living How leading an independent life with a physical or learning disability is now more achievable than ever.

    If its children's wheelchairs that you are looking to learn about why not visit here

    Part two of the wheelchair selection video:

    [embed]https://youtu.be/8HEVruGqG-s[/embed]

    We hope that this article has been of help to you. Please call us if you want more help in the selection of yours - we're here to help!

  • 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.

  • Womens wheelchair doubles performance

    It's looking good for Britain Jordanne Whiley in the US Open wheelchair women's tennis. Jordanne has just reached her first grand slam final having beaten Aniek Van Koot from the Netherlands.

    Whiley, 23, lost the first set on a tie-break but won the next two to complete a 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-3 triumph over the Dutch second seed, having won 6-3 6-1 against American Kaitlyn Verfuerth in the quarter-finals.
    She will play her doubles partner Yui Kamiji in todday's final.

    In addition to her singles results Jordanne also excelled in the doubles but lost in the last four of the US Open wheelchair women's doubles, while fellow Brit Gordon Reid did reach the final of the men's doubles. Having been disappointed with her performance in the quarter finals, Jordanne tweeted "Well that's what happens when you have an absolute shambles and play like an idiot" which seems a little harsh as she played well and covered the ground impressively well in her sports wheelchair adapted for tennis.

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