Saturday, June 10, 2006

Forget the shoes: Daddy needs a new laptop

A report on the Barnardo’s and WhizzKidz campaign to improve equipment provision to disabled children provides a good example of the kind of complaints we hear on a regular basis:
According to the Barnardo’s and Whizz-Kidz report, up to three quarters of families do not get the equipment they need.

It also found that families experienced an average waiting time of between six to nine months, with the longest at 14 months.

This was against good practice recommended by government standards for NHS wheelchair services. These stipulate minimum response times of 15 working days for locally-held stock, 30 days for orders from manufacturers and 30 to 65 for made to measure.

Whizz-Kidz, which provides mobility equipment to children and young people, did a survey of families it had helped last year and found that nearly half of local services could not provide equipment because of lack of funds.
The government is willing to spend £millions on databases that will purportedly help practitioners decide what services each child needs, but children whose needs are patently obvious aren’t getting even the most basic equipment. Where exactly are these services that need to be administered via state-of-the-art IT systems and professional conferencing?

As one parent says: “You feel like you have to fight for everything when you have a disabled child, and the kids are fighting for their independence”. Well, we’ve been hearing variations on that theme for years. And if you think getting a wheelchair is difficult, just try applying for Disability Living Allowance for an autistic child.

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