Amy forced to wait two years for wheelchair

Stephanie Headrige (41) from Gosport, with her daughter Amy Headrige (18)''''Picture: Sarah Standing (123239-5887)
Stephanie Headrige (41) from Gosport, with her daughter Amy Headrige (18)''''Picture: Sarah Standing (123239-5887)
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AMY Headrige is confined to a wheelchair once used by her great-grandmother because of a string of NHS delays that have left her waiting for two years.

Amy, 18, suffers from Juvenile Batten Disease, a condition which affects her brain and nervous system.

Her mum Stephanie, with whom she lives in Gosport, asked Solent NHS Trust in 2010 if Amy could have a new wheelchair to replace the one that was used by her 80-year-old great-grandmother Joyce Payne until she died in 2002.

Amy needed a reclining seat and arms with chest straps to keep her upright because nine years ago she developed narcolepsy with cataplexy – a sleeping disorder which causes her to collapse out of her chair.

The NHS trust offered Mrs Headrige an alternative chair because it didn’t have the one she wanted – but it kept breaking down.

Engineers were sent out to fit new wheels to that wheelchair but it didn’t solve the problem.

After appealing further Mrs Headrige was told by the NHS in August it had found a suitable wheelchair but it needed to order extra parts for it.

The wheelchair has now been sent but Amy can’t use it yet because one of the arms is missing after to delivery problems. Mrs Headrige, who is Amy’s full-time carer, said: ‘I feel the NHS has let Amy down. This concerns her quality of life. Having the right wheelchair is a necessity, not a luxury. I should be spending quality time with my daughter, not chasing up a wheelchair service.

‘This has been very draining.

‘I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this.’

Jane Howard, clinical head of adult services at Solent NHS Trust said: ‘We are very sorry that Amy has encountered difficulties in the provision of her wheelchair, and have been working closely with Amy and her family to resolve the issues which relate to the highly specialised model of chair she requires.

‘Amy has now been provided with her chair which has been built to meet her exact requirements.

‘However, there are specific attachments that were not included by the procurement company, as part of the original order, which has led to unfortunate delays.

‘We will continue to support Amy and her family in resolving these issues.’