Anger at disabled Lee-on-the-Solent boy’s long wait for a new wheelchair

NOT HAPPY Emma Shepherd with her son James.   Picture: Ian Hargreaves (113792-2)
NOT HAPPY Emma Shepherd with her son James. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (113792-2)

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MUM Emma Shepherd has criticised the NHS after having to wait more than six months for a wheelchair for her disabled son.

Eight-year-old James Shepherd suffers from Angelman Syndrome – a rare condition characterised by severe learning difficulties and unsteady or jerky movements.

His parents applied to the Solent NHS Trust for a wheelchair in April but they are still waiting for it to arrive.

The chair costs £1,300 and the family can’t afford to pay for it themselves.

The trust has apologised for the delay and is investigating why James had had to wait so long.

But they are unable to say when the chair, which needs to be provided with straps to suit James’ needs, will be ready.

Mum Emma, 32, said: ‘The one he’s in at the moment is a buggy and he’s far too big for it.

‘We have had communication from them but for months at a time we aren’t hearing anything.’

Now Emma, from Cherry Close in Lee-on-the-Solent, has found herself stuck at home during the half term holiday, as James’ buggy is falling apart and many of the straps have broken.

‘We can’t take him anywhere at the moment,’ she added.

‘We don’t know what belt or strap is going to fall off his buggy.

‘We like to go out as a family during half term, especially to theme parks. We’re very close as a family. But this isn’t fair on him.’

David Clements, director of professional and specialist services for Solent NHS Trust, said: ‘We would like to apologise for a set of unfortunate circumstances that has resulted in delays in providing a wheelchair to one of our patients.

‘We are unable to go into much detail regarding this matter due to patient confidentiality reasons.

‘However, I would like to reassure the affected family and the public that, in line with our internal procedures, we are fully investigating what went wrong and we will make sure this does not happen again.

‘We have been meeting with the family to discuss this matter so as to quickly address all concerns.’