A PRISONER in his own home – that’s how Keith Goldring says he felt after he was left without a wheelchair for three weeks.
The 59-year-old suffers from multiple sclerosis and has difficulty walking, which means he needs the chair.
But three weeks ago, his wheelchair broke and he contacted Solent NHS Trust, which runs the Solent Wheelchair Service, the provider of the chair.
Mr Goldring, of Billylawn Avenue, Havant, said: ‘For three weeks I was confined to my house because I was not offered a replacement wheelchair.
‘I was told a part needed ordering and heard nothing more.
‘It meant I was unable to get on with my life and I felt like a prisoner.
‘I had to cancel hospital appointments and a dentist appointment.
‘My wife Valerie is 67 and can only do so much for me. Plus, I volunteer for the Havant Sunday League, which I wasn’t able to get to.’
A review done by Portsmouth City Council last year spoke to 60 people, who use the service.
The biggest feedback expressed unacceptable waiting times from referrals, to assessment, to chair issue.
Since The News contacted Solent NHS Trust, Mr Goldring’s wheelchair has been fixed.
A spokesman for Solent said: ‘We’re sorry we have provided a disappointing service to Mr Goldring.
‘While legally we’re unable to discuss details, we have already started an immediate internal process to see what could have gone wrong in this case.
‘We’re in the process of transferring the wheelchair service to a new provider, who will be running the service from April. While this transfer has led to some changes in the service, we’re taking steps to ensure the quality of care is not impacted by this transfer.
‘Where this is not the case, we would always want to hear from patients, or their families, so that we can put things right quickly.’
The manager of patient support group Hampshire Healthwatch said it is ‘concerning’.
Steve Taylor said: ‘We have had people raise this issue with us, and it is concerning.
‘We know the service will be provided by someone new, but this change should not be felt by patients.’
Anyone unhappy with the service should call 0800 013 2319, or e-mail email@example.com
DIFFERENT COMPANY WILL SOON PROVIDE SUPPORT SERVICE
FROM next month, the wheelchair service will be provided by a different trust.
The Solent Wheelchair Service – currently delivered by Solent NHS Trust – will be called the Community NHS Wheelchair Service from April 1.
It will be provided free by Millbrook Healthcare, on behalf of the NHS, and there will be no changes to what it offers.
Mandy Eltherington, operations director for Solent, said: ‘Unfortunately there is currently a shortage of therapists recruited to work in the service and it has proved difficult to fill vacancies. This has led to some delays for which we apologise.
‘We would be grateful for your patience and support in this interim period and will make every effort to maintain and prioritise your needs.’