Published: 27th May 2015
Author: WLA

Welcome to the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance blog!

Hello, and welcome to the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance blog! I am pleased to be the first contributor in what I hope will be a long line of engaging and exciting posts from fellow Alliance members and guests.

You may have heard my interview on Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme on 14th May, available here, explaining what we are trying to do. It is important to get the right message out there and increase the momentum of the campaign. If you were listening, thank you. We need to get lots and lots of people behind the campaign so please get involved by sharing your experiences with wheelchair services on social media, using the hashtag #MyWheelchair.

As Chair of the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance I would like to briefly explain our vision and what we are doing to achieve it. Change in provision of wheelchair services is something that has been talked about for decades but has seen no real improvement. It is something all of us in the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance are committed to achieving. With a committed team working together and a new campaign and Wheelchair Charter, the future certainly is starting to look brighter with regard to changing wheelchair services for the better.

My wheelchair is one of the most important things in my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to work, spend time with my family, or have a social life; I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have done in athletics and outside it; and I wouldn’t be so passionate about ensuring everybody who needs a wheelchair gets the right one for their requirements.

It may just look like a wheelchair, interchangeable with almost any other, but it is so much more than that and because of having the right wheelchair, I have very few restrictions in my life.

Obtaining a wheelchair is a complex operation and one that many people in the UK struggle with. We have seen examples of good practice in our wheelchair service, but we have also seen areas that need to be re-evaluated and improved. The complexity of the process means that there isn’t a quick fix and bringing about positive change requires a strategic approach.

With the Wheelchair Charter we are laying down guiding principles to the wheelchair service on how it should operate. Plus, the charter is a visual reminder of what wheelchair users should expect from the service regarding chairs, posture, mobility and repairs. If you support what we’re trying to do, please pledge your support here [link].

The campaign – ‘Right Chair, Right Time, Right Now!’ – aims to raise awareness of issues in wheelchair services, and I want more people to understand what getting the right wheelchair at the right time means. To achieve our goals we need a wide range of support behind us, be it from wheelchair users, commissioners, service providers or manufacturers.

You can help us raise awareness of the problems facing wheelchair users and how great it is when things go right by sharing your examples of the good and not so good experiences you’ve had when dealing with wheelchair services. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, you can also join the conversation online using #MyWheelchair.

I want to end by saying thank you to all those who are contributing to the cause and who want to support us in our drive for change. Together we can make a difference and improve the quality of wheelchair services.

Keep your eyes open for the next post!

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Categories: Welcome

One thought on “Welcome to the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance blog!”

  1. Fred says:

    I would like to say how much I agree with the idea of Right Chair at the Right time. As a former manufacturer of powered wheelchairs to the NHS, I can speak from experience that this does not always happen. In fact the cost of the chair has become increasingly the most important factor in the prescription. This really should not be the case. When the NHS will only supply one size fits all brought from manufacturers outside of the UK there can be no adaptations to fir individual requirements.

    I currently run a wheelchair hire company that endeavours to accommodate the clients requirements to the best of our ability. Our staff have all previously worked with the NHS Wheelcahir Service in the supply of chairs and are experienced in advising on the suitability of chairs.

    I would very much like to be involved in any way in your campaign if you would like
    my input.

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