To Laraine Tee, her wheelchair is her lifeline. Muscular dystrophy means the chair is the only way she can get around.
Yet because of her posture, the arm rest on this particular model keeps digging into her ribs, causing a painful sore.
You’d think the solution would be easy. Order a new chair that would make her life more comfortable.
If only it was that straightforward. Instead, Laraine has spent 18 months patiently waiting for a replacement and still has no idea when it might be available.
She has found herself trapped in the NHS machine, with chair provider Millbrook Healthcare unable to provide the chair or even a date of delivery.
Meanwhile parts for Laraine’s current chair are no longer available. If anything went wrong, it could not be fixed and she would be confined to bed because of her muscle-wasting disease.
This is no way to treat somebody who is already suffering. Yes, we understand that Millbrook’s managers inherited a waiting list when it took over the wheelchair contract from the previous NHS provider. But the company has received funding to help clear the backlog.
To them, Laraine may be no more than another name on a sheet of paper. But we’re willing to bet they would take a somewhat different view if it was they who needed a new wheelchair and had been waiting so long.
Yet she has been left to go back and forth with the company ever since November 2013 and has still had no joy.
We urge Millbrook to show it cares about people like Laraine by contacting her. Even if they cannot yet provide a new wheelchair, surely they can give her some information rather than leaving her feeling like she is being ignored.