Sun. Jul 3rd, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Jonathan’s long wait for a new wheelchair

2 min read

A 19-year-old man, who has cerebral palsy, has been waiting more than a year for a new wheelchair following a series of operations.

Jonathan Randall, from Freshwater, had a body-changing operation in March 2021 and two further operations following infections in December 2021 and February 2022. However, despite taking a ‘fitting’ of Jonathan’s body shape last June, the Island’s NHS wheelchair providers, Millbrook, have still not delivered a new specially-adapted chair.

His mother, Jane, says that this means his current wheelchair is so uncomfortable the only other option for him is to lay in bed. Jane explained: “Jonathan had surgery in March 2021 which meant he needed a new chair. A cast was then made of his body at a fitting last June,

“Since then, Jonathan has been very ill and has had a further two operations following complications with the operation. He has still not had his ‘old’ cast from June delivered and a year later still doesn’t have a suitable wheelchair.

“I keep having to alter his chair – which is complex and shouldn’t be done by me! The sad thing is that I hear from other families that our situation is by no means unique. The delays Jonathan is currently experiencing are not Covid-related, because it has happened before. Previously, he had spinal rods inserted in his back in June 2019 and I let Millbrook know in advance. He had the surgery but no chair was provided. He was expected to sit in his old mould which was radically different from his pre-op shape. In this instance it took from June 2019 to September 2019 to get a chair from them, and this was following a formal complaint.

“At that time, I already had my doubts and foreseen the situation. The only reason he had a chair to sit in after having his entire back opened up was because I had a non-moulded, more standard one, stored in my shed for 18 months. It had previously been scrapped and I think that demonstrates how little faith I had in the services ability to meet Jonathan’s needs.

“I have been told there is a chair on order, but I have heard nothing from Millbrook. He is so uncomfortable in his current chair that sometimes there is no alternative other than to put him in bed. That is no life for a 19-year-old.”

The IW Observer contacted the NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group and we were referred to Millbrook.

A Millbrook spokesman said: “We are unable to comment on individual patient cases, but our team are working with the CCG and the patient and his family directly to find solutions that support his recovery.”

*If you have had a problem with Millbrook supplying a wheelchair, contact mal@iwobserver.co.uk.