Does my Bum Look Big in This?

You wouldn’t buy a car that you couldn’t fit into comfortably to drive would You?..

Think how hard it would be to drive that not being able to steer , reach the pedals or break. How you wouldn’t feel in control of your vehicle.

Other things to consider if you aren’t sat in the correct position is how comfortable the vehicle is. You need to be in control 100% of the time .

A car is a vehicle that you can adjust a little just some cars aren’t good for some people so you do have to find one that suits.

If you can’t relate to that analogy lets talk about clothes for a minute. How many times have you read a label that said ‘one size fits all ‘ got home to try the item on and thought maybe if you were aged 10 years old !!!!!

You learn from that mistake and you certainly know that when you purchase things one size certainly does not mean it will fit all .

We are all different shapes and sizes (I feel a beautiful south song coming on)…..

That’s how life is , so you buy or use items to accommodate your physique in everyday life. You buy shoes that fit everything according to your needs.

When I became sick 8 years nobody offered any assistance, I just fumbled through things myself. I bought a mobility scooter at first as I just didn’t know what to get and my little boy stood on the front.

I never went out much as i felt too unwell most of the time. I was on very powerful medication that left me still in pain but with no motivation to do anything. Long story short, change of medication and help with breathing equipment I wanted to get active. I went to my doctors for a wheelchair assessment.

So it was an easy process. I have to say what a waste of NHS money. They are giving wheelchairs to people, no real assessment being done. No measurements. No questions asked about what activities you might like to do in your wheelchair etc.

No consideration as to what conditions the roads are around you or what the terrain is like in general. If you have any support pushing the chair etc.

There are so many different chairs on the market but the NHS have the biggest heaviest wheelchairs going .

First what is a disability?

Straight from the Gov.uk info page;

Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t apply to Northern Ireland.

What ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ mean

‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial, eg it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed

‘long-term’ means 12 months or more, eg a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection

There are special rules about recurring or fluctuating conditions, eg arthritis.

Progressive conditions

A progressive condition is one that gets worse over time. People with progressive conditions can be classed as disabled.

However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis.

What isn’t counted as a disability

There’s guidance on conditions that aren’t covered by the disability definition, eg addiction to non–prescribed drugs or alcohol.

Now not everyone has a disability that requires a wheelchair. Not everyone who requires a wheelchair wants to be physically active.

Wouldn’t you agree though that a wheelchair like this

Probably isn’t suitable for terrain like this

infact that’s probably how he broke his leg .

There is a big push to get disabled and people who have long term chronic illness active.

The Assessment

From the nhs information site.

How to get an NHS wheelchair or scooter

NHS wheelchairs are available to people of all ages who have a long-term need for mobility help. However, your eligibility will be decided locally and can vary depending on where you live.

Some wheelchair services or local hospitals will also provide wheelchairs on loan in certain circumstances – for example, following surgery.

The NHS is unlikely to provide you with a mobility scooter.

NHS wheelchair services

Before you can get a wheelchair on the NHS, you’ll have to have an assessment. This is done by the NHS wheelchair service, and will decide whether you’re eligible for an NHS wheelchair and, if so, what type.

Assessments are usually carried out at the wheelchair service centre. You can have the assessment at home or at work, but you won’t be able to see and try the full range of chairs available.

To get an NHS wheelchair assessment, ask your GP, hospital doctor, physiotherapist or occupational therapist to refer you to your local wheelchair service. Many wheelchair services have a waiting list for assessments, so expect it to take several weeks after being referred.

Personally and I have read from many people’s experiences what should happen and what does happen is different.

I went to my GP he filled in the referral and that was it a wheelchair arrived. No questions asked. No measurements taken. No checks to see that it fit correctly. If it was suitable for my posture which was already struggling.

Surely a full time wheelchair user deserves a chair that is comfortable.

One size doesn’t fit all. You wouldn’t be comfortable wearing shoes that were too small or high heels to go hill climbing.

Wheelchairs ( and hoists, disabled toilets other stuff that we need etc) are a tool ,not a fashion accessories. We need them because parts of our bodies don’t work ,it’s pointless replacing it with a piece of equipment you can’t use either.

You can’t eat soup with a fork ! Please SOSP save our sanity please.

We as individuals members of the comunity aren’t ever going to be able to compete on an equal playing field as we don’t have the tools we need to replace what we haven’t got to function.

We are treated as a separate entity a good example being the Paralympics and the Olympics look at the difference. Why not have one big event divided into categories well even more categories. It’s supposed to be sport for all right ?

Things need to change we have our voices and each other and that’s a good start .

Joanne Quinnell

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