SIS have recently been contacted by one of our members who was expressing concern at the interpretation of ‘PRIORITY’ when applied to the matter of wheelchair repairs. One of the brakes on our member’s wheelchair snapped, making daily use more challenging and creating an unreliable chair from which to do transfers.
On contacting the local provider – Mobility and Rehabilitation Service, Grampian (MARS) — the member was advised that the timeframe for a priority repair was 3 working days. (This being the national timescale for such work).
A quick check of the NHS Grampian website revealed that MARS “.. covers the Grampian area as well as the Orkney and Shetland islands, a population of roughly 556,000 people and an area of over 8,700 square kilometers (not including islands). The Service is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of occupational therapists, bioengineers, technicians and administrators. Around 2,700 referrals are received per year, which result in the issue of around 2,000 wheelchairs and/or seating systems. The service has around 7000 active users (aged from under 1 year to 100+) who generate 900 clinic attendances per year and 350 domiciliary visits.
As well as providing a clinical assessment and provision service, the Wheelchair and Seating Service also provides a repair service for existing users that includes a workshop on site and a number of vans that travel throughout the Grampian area for local repairs. Annually technicians carry out over 4000 repairs, deliveries and collections, as well as over 2000 additional workshop requests”.
Like many members of SIS, our contributor has only the one chair and as such is entirely dependent on it remaining fit for purpose, with any down-time limited to the absolute minimum. Given the number of people dependent on the service, our member expressed the view that 3 days for a priority was unacceptable and wanted to know what the experience and/or thoughts of fellow SIS members was.
We’d be interested to hear your views/experience, and/or whether you think this is an area we should consider for a future campaign. Please get in contact, here.