Evidence of the dire state of NHS wheelchair provision across the country shows that the system is failing the very people who need it most
Five disabled peers have called on the government to strengthen a new bill to ensure that all new buses have to be fitted with audio-visual announcements. They were taking part in last week’s second Lords reading of the bus services bill, which aims to give local authorities a greater role in providing bus services and improve information for passengers. But the five peers said more needed to be done in the bill to improve the accessibility of buses for disabled people. All new buses will already have to meet accessibility regulations by the end of this year, and government statistics show that 89 per cent of buses in England already do so. But those regulations – which include facilities such as low-floor boarding, visual contrast on step edges, handholds and handrails, priority seats, and spaces for wheelchairs – do not include audio-visual announcements. Baroness Campbell said that access for disabled passengers “remains a major challenge for the bus industry”. She said that
As this appears to be a Health and Safety issue, then the centre should be closed until further notice. Mobility is not only a factor with wheelchairs as there are many other other aspects of mobility, this is discrimination to selective groups of the community.
This is unbelievable. It is blatant disability discrimination. Turn the lifts off if you have to but make other access arrangements or adjustments. There is absolutely no excuse for banning disabled customers. If the centre is not safe for wheelchair users, it’s not safe for anyone and should be closed to everyone until it is safe again.
Please, readers, please, share this post as widely as possible. I’ll be sharing it with every media outlet I can think of.
Wheelchair users have been banned from entering the Grosvenor shopping centre after orders from fire chiefs.
On Thursday security guards are stopping people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters from entering the premises.
And those accessing the ground-level indoor market have been given escorts to prevent them entering shops.
It follows a safety inspection by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
But the move has provoked upset and anger from bewildered customers.
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Disabled people are sleeping fully-clothed in their wheelchairs and surviving on biscuits due to cuts to social care, according to a new report.
Many are in crisis because social care care services are “crumbling”, the research by the charity Scope found.
It said that people have had their care packages cut and cannot get the right care.
The Scope survey of 500 disabled people found 55% say they cannot get the support they need to live independently.
Some 55% of disabled social care users do not think they have enough hours in their care package.
Rachel Watt, 36, from Southampton, is in constant pain and has ended up sleeping in her wheelchair.
She said: “Since 2010, I have had two thirds of my care package cut, from two and a half hours a day down to 45 minutes.
“In November 2010, I lost my evening call to help me get ready for bed. Then a few months later I lost my domestic assistance, and then the following year I lost my meal preparation time.
“Now I just have a short morning call to help me get washed and dressed.
“On my worst days, I can’t get undressed properly in the evenings, or transfer from my power wheelchair into bed, so I have to sleep in my chair, in my clothes.
“I had to fight to get a care call so I can shower once a day. My local authority suggested that three days a week would be enough.
“When my arms aren’t working properly, I can’t prepare meals, so I end up just having bread.
“Before, I would have had my meal prepared. The last time I was in hospital, they told me I was malnourished.”
Josie Evans, 40, from Bristol, said her basic needs were met but she has no real help leaving the house.
“It means that some days I barely get to speak to anyone, let alone have a social life.
“If I get an infection and have to ask my carer to pick up a prescription, I don’t get to have a shower that day. There just isn’t enough time.
“After three years of asking, my council have finally agreed to give me 45 minutes a week for social time.”
Robert, 63, from Warwickshire, suffered an accident 15 years ago and is entitled to 14 hours of support a week.
He said: “If you have a week like I had last week, where I had three hospital appointments, all my social care is used up on getting me to hospital.
“If I’m on my own, I don’t have anything to eat or drink all day. There’s a bottle of water and a box of Belvita biscuits by my bed, and that’s all I’ll get to eat all day because I can’t afford to pay for care. So life is miserable, to be honest.”
Jo Allen, 47, from Cambridgeshire, who has spinal muscular atrophy, said: “You end up cutting corners with the very basic things. I might end up not washing my hair, because it means I’d be keeping the carer here too long. It might take me three quarters of an hour to have a shower, but social services say ‘Well, actually you can do that in 15 minutes’.”
The Scope research found 36% of disabled social care users said support has become worse since 2010, with 19% saying it had improved.
Overall, 29% of social care users say their hours of support have been cut, while 24% say their hours have been increased.
And 83% of those whose hours of support have been cut say they now do not get enough support through their care package.
Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said: “Our findings show the horrific consequences that disabled people face as a result of our collapsing social care system.
“Disabled people have told us they are waiting fourteen hours to go to the toilet, sleeping in their clothes, unable to eat or wash and left socially isolated.”
He said social care funding gap is growing by at least £700 million a year.
“The social care system is crumbling under severe financial pressure and this is set to intensify when the spending review further reduces the funds available to cash-strapped councils.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “No-one should be left for hours waiting for the care they need.
“We’ve set new guidelines for councils on how they commission their services so people do get enough time and enough say over their care.
“And we’re making sure older and vulnerable people have a strong health and care service, having invested an extra £3.2 billion to social care between 2011-2014 and putting £10 billion extra into the NHS during this Parliament.”
Read the full article online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-3311250/Disabled-people-sleeping-wheelchairs-social-care-cuts
After a devastating car accident left her paralyzed from the chest down, Heidi McKenzie, 29, was dead set on adapting to her new normal. She graduated college, started volunteering and won a beauty pageant.
But she couldn’t find a decent pair of jeans.
Across the U.S., an estimated 3.6 million people rely on wheelchairs to get around, according to the U.S. Census.
And while there have been significant advancements in wheelchair technology and in including people with disabilities in major fashion shows, designers continue to leave out wheelchair users from their fashion-forward creations.
After her accident in 2007, McKenzie developed a supportive community that allowed her to move forward.
She works as a secretary at her dad’s Kentucky-based construction company, and volunteers at a number of organizations, including Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital where she helps spinal cord injury patients, she told Huff Post.
But it was when she competed in Ms. Wheelchair America that she found other likeminded women who faced the same struggles she does in trying to find trendy clothing that make her feel comfortable in her own skin.
When it comes to fashion for people with disabilities, the designs typically centre on functionality, and are mostly targeted toward the “elderly,” McKenzie said.
And while it’s true that people who use wheelchairs often need some special considerations when it comes to what they wear, that accessibility shouldn’t preclude style.
That’s why McKenzie teamed up with designer Kristin Alexandra Tidwell to create Alter Ur Ego, a line of jeans that work for people who use wheelchairs.
The jeans are modeled after standard pairs, but have easily accessible pockets on the thighs and a tummy control panel, because “it’s impossible to suck in your gut,” McKenzie explained.
“I don’t dwell on the past nor would I want to change it,” McKenzie wrote in a recent blog post. “I wholeheartedly believe I am exactly where I need to be — designing clothing for people like me in wheelchairs.”
- Communicate. Ask if there’s anything you need to know first. NEVER touch or move a wheelchair without permission.
- Don’t overshoot checkouts and reception desks. If you are level, your passenger has gone too far past it.
- Don’t bump your passenger’s feet into people, objects or walls. Particularly in lifts.
- Don’t follow anyone too closely. … … Your passenger is closer to them than you are, and seeing backsides that close gets tedious.
- Watch out for oddly sloping pavements, especially near dropped curbs. The wheelchair WILL veer sideways into traffic if you are not careful.
- Look ahead for bumps. Dropped curbs are often not dropped very much. Be prepared to walk a long way around via the road.
- Always approach bumps straight on. If you are not straight, stop and turn first.
- It can be easier to go backwards over bumps if the wheelchair has large wheels.
- Pay attention to the…
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Tens of thousands of disabled children could benefit from a change in the law that now allows under-17s to use more advanced powered wheelchairs, campaigners claim.
The amendment to existing highways regulations came into force on Monday (9 March) and increases the upper weight limit on all scooters and powered wheelchairs to 200kg, as long as the extra weight is from “necessary user equipment”.
Manual wheelchairs and class two powered wheelchairs and scooters previously had a top weight of 113kg, while faster, road-legal vehicles (class three) had a top weight of 150kg.
Anyone who wanted to drive something heavier had to have a driving licence, which ruled them out for under-17s.
Now all three classes of vehicles will be able to weigh up to 200kg, as long as their weight without the extra equipment is still under 113kg or 150kg.
Many more people who depend on specialist medical equipment will now be able to load it on their wheelchairs and scooters to travel outside their own homes.
Baroness Kramer, the Liberal Democrat transport minister, said the changes – which apply only to England and Scotland – would “vastly improve the quality of life for disabled people, in particular children with some of the most complex medical needs”.
Helen Dolphin, director of policy and campaigns for Disabled Motoring UK (DM UK), welcomed the new laws because she said they would give people “more choice” when choosing wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
But she said it was right that there was still a weight limit, particularly as some heavier vehicles could cause problems on public transport.
And she said DM UK believed the government should introduce compulsory insurance for all wheelchairs and scooters because of their potential to damage other people and property.
She said: “It is the view of DM UK that we do not want disabled people to find themselves in desperate situations, being sued by people and losing their homes.
“Insurance is very cheap anyway, and it can be built into the cost of the scooter.”
The charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, which funds specialist equipment for disabled children and those with terminal illness, had campaigned for the change in weight limits. It believes the new laws could help 70,000 disabled children in the UK who use wheelchairs.
To mark the amendment coming into force, Newlife handed a high-tech powered wheelchair to 12-year-old Christopher Anderson, from Thornton Cleveleys in Lancashire.
Previously, he would have been unable to use the wheelchair, as it weighs 165kg.
He has been using a manual wheelchair, but can only self-propel on flat surfaces and for short distances.
Christopher said the previous laws that prevented him using the kind of chair he needed had been “rubbish”.
He said: “Disabled people should be able to get equipment they need and companies should be able to help us.”
He said he would have been “absolutely furious” if he was not able to have his new chair, which was “fast, colourful, raises and lowers and reclines and stops me being uncomfy”.
He added: “I need that chair so I can do things myself and not have to be pushed.”
Christopher said he hoped to use the new chair to “go to the shop on my own, see over people’s heads at concerts and get up kerbs”.
And he said the new law was “absolutely spot on! If children need something because of a disability, they should be able to get it.”
Sheila Brown, chief executive of Newlife, said: “We are delighted that this seemingly small change could potentially make a huge impact on the quality of the lives of so many wheelchair-using children in the UK.”
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com