THE mum of a teenager with cerebral palsy has told of her fury that her daughter’s been left having to use the wheelchair she was given at the age of nine.
Ailsa Speak, 18, was born with the condition that means she cannot walk unaided and can only stand for short periods of time.
She relies on the wheelchair to help her with daily activities such as getting around St Vincent College, in Gosport, seeing friends and enjoying trips into town.
But her mum Eileen says the family’s pleas for a replacement have fallen on deaf ears.
She said: ‘Ailsa needs this wheelchair replacement urgently – that’s all we’re asking for.
‘She outgrew her current chair about five years ago and since then we have been waiting.
‘Her feet can’t rest on the footpads properly, the support pads for her legs and hips and shoulders are all in the wrong place and she has difficulty getting in and out of the chair.
‘Ailsa just wants a chair that fits her properly, she isn’t going to grow again.’
The wheelchair service in Hampshire is provided by a company called Millbrook Healthcare.
It took over from Solent NHS Trust in April last year.
During that month the family said Ailsa visited a specialist in St Mary’s Community Health Campus for an assessment.
Mrs Speak, of Long Drive, Gosport, added: ‘We went to the Disablement Services Centre in April and Ailsa had an assessment. The doctor said the wheelchair was ridiculous and would refer Millbrook to take a look.
‘Three months after that we had a letter from Millbrook to say there was a waiting list, and that’s it.
‘Since then we have not heard from them at all.
‘I’ve been calling them but we are just not getting anywhere.
‘She is on the paediatric waiting list as she was 17 in April, and when I asked if she could be moved on to the adult list I was told that wait is even longer.’
Ailsa contacted The News in a bid to raise awareness of the delays she and others are facing.
She said: ‘This isn’t just about me, it’s about all the others that are also waiting.’
The family said under Solent NHS Trust, Ailsa was given an electric wheelchair in 2013.
But the family said this is not fit-for-purpose and can hinder Ailsa’s chances of moving around.
Mrs Speak added: ‘The chair is much-heavier and bigger, which means we can’t get it into cars or houses properly and if the battery dies then pushing it is hard – a manual one is much better for her to get out and about.’
Millbrook Healthcare said it is unable to comment on individual cases at this time.
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