By Lizzie Healey
Jackie Baillie MSP has completed the first step of her Member’s Bill on Short Term Access to Wheelchairs by concluding the 12 week consultation period.
Currently, in Scotland, patients only qualify for an NHS wheelchair if they are expected to need to use one for six months or more. This leaves thousands of patients needing to either pay for a wheelchair themselves, rely on charities (who only operate in certain parts of Scotland), or stay in hospital resulting in delayed discharges and a lack of available hospital beds for those who need one the most.
The consultation on Jackie Baillie’s proposed Short Term Access (Wheelchairs) (Scotland) Bill ran from 8 April 2019 to 30 June 2019 and resulted in 92 completed consultations from individuals and relevant organisations across Scotland. Out of the 92 completed consultations, 67 were fully supportive of the proposed bill.
Jackie Baillie said: “I am delighted to have received such positive feedback on the first step of my proposed bill to give wheelchairs to those who need one. I was disappointed to learn that there currently isn’t the funding and facilities available to provide wheelchairs for everyone in need of one on the NHS. I am so grateful for organisations such as the British Red Cross which does a fantastic job of providing wheelchairs but they do not operate in every part of Scotland.
“So for those who can’t afford to buy their own wheelchair, having access to one is a real postcode lottery. I look forward to the next steps of my bill and hope that soon, everyone who needs a wheelchair will have one, regardless of their location or financial situation.”
Handy for all occasions – wheelchairs for those who need them.