Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson has hailed an NHS programme aimed at improving the lives of wheelchair users but warned there is still more to be done.
Chairing a discussion on wheelchair services at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, Dame Tanni said: “I got involved in improving wheelchair services as I am a wheelchair user and my experience of the services has always been pretty good but I have people writing to me describing a variable service.
“Everyone is trying really, really hard to do the best they can but rules are getting in the way of the improvements needed. People need to understand a wheelchair is our lives, it’s our independence.
“I have been really pleased with the response from NHS England as they have now launched their improvement programme but it’s not just a case of saying change is needed, we now need to help people understand and make those changes.”
My Voice, My Wheelchair, My Life is a programme aimed at transforming wheelchair services for users and their families so that users with complex and changing needs can get the right wheelchair for their needs in a timely way with continuing support.
Tanni was joined on stage by representatives from the national Wheelchair Leadership Alliance, charities and wheelchair users to discuss the issues facing patients.
Nick Goldup, NHS Partnership Director at Whizz-Kidz, told delegates that the difference the right chair makes to people as ‘unbelievable’ and said that learning from industry and putting innovation at the heart of the supply chain would be key to the future.