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Disabled children across the UK let down by the NHS

Disabled children across the UK let down by the NHS

A postcode lottery for NHS equipment in England means some disabled children are forced to wait two years for a wheelchair, according to a charity.

Freedom of Information figures obtained by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign show disabled children in England are forced to wait an average of five months for a wheelchair, with 58% having to wait three months and 14% waiting more than six months.

A primary care trust (PCT) in the north west was revealed to be the worst performing, with patients left hanging on for an average of two years before receiving an electric wheelchair.

And the research showed that children living just four miles apart could have a difference of 11 months to receive vital equipment.

The campaign also called on the NHS to stop "relying on charities" to fill funding gaps after the data showed many trusts would not pay the full cost of electric wheelchairs.

Overall, 50% of PCTs which responded said they did not fund the full cost of a powered wheelchair for disabled children.

A separate patient survey of 237 children found that despite a basic electric wheelchair costing around £3,000, one in three did not receive any help in the form of funding.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

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