Monday, September 17, 2007

The Wheelchair Service - Part 1

There was a message left on my answer machine last Friday with a name and phone number asking me to phone them back.

So on Monday I returned the call. I waited on hold. She's not at her desk. I left a message with the very nice receptionist who assured me the Occupational Therapist (OT) would phone me back.

On Tuesday there is a recorded message when I phone. Out of curiosity I listen through to the end. It tells me what to do if I need a repair to my wheelchair out of hours. Ring this other number. Nothing to do with the NHS wheelchair service then. They must've all finished work for the day. At 4.45pm. I can't be bothered to leave a(nother) message on this machine.

Wednesday morning. I try again. Speak to the receptionist. Confirm I am returning the call. Explain I am not sure why they want to speak to me. I have been referred by my GP. The OT is in a meeting. But she does want to refer me to another OT. One I have seen previously. One who previously told me I could not have any equipment for the bath as it would not fit. An OT who never measured the bath. An OT who told me I needed and was entitled to an electric bed raiser. Told me she would get me one. Then looked at my bed. Said 'oh'. You have a slatted bed frame. You can't have a bed raiser. An OT who did such an appalling assessment it later had to be redone properly by a different OT. One who did at least measure the bath, but still wouldn't provide any equipment to help. Apparently my hips were 'too bad'. I might hurt myself on the equipment they (the OT's) had provided. Such a shame the first OT had not measured the bath. When my hips had not been quite so bad. And I would have been safe to use the bath board that fitted and she claimed would not but could not be bothered to measure the width of the bath and find out. An OT who when delivering a key safe organised by someone else distressed me so greatly I asked her (politely) to leave my home. An OT who then told her manager I had refused her access to my home, had refused to sign a form, listen to her instructions and 'been rude to her'. An OT who wasn't terribly successful with her complaints against me as when I spoke to her manager about it, I pointed out that someone was not telling the truth. That considering they had a signed copy of the form their OT was claiming I'd refused to sign and that I knew the code to said key safe along with instructions for use that the OT had claimed I'd not been given it wasn't likely to be me not telling the truth.

I tell the receptionist none of this, but say that there have been problems with this particular OT in the past, and I would very much like to be referred to someone else. Please. Thank you ever so much. I would really appreciate it. Yes my height and weight are correct as on the form.

This time the original OT who left the message does call me back. Within about 15 minutes. Why do they want to speak to me? Apparently on the form filled in by the teenage receptionist at my GP's surgery which with approximately 20 GCSE's, a fistful of A levels and a degree between us, neither she nor I could understand the vast majority of, we ticked the box to say I am interested in the voucher scheme. They want to know if this is so. Er. Right. Ok. I say that I know next to nothing about the voucher scheme but I might be interested. I won't know until I know enough about it and more importantly, what wheelchair I will need. So maybe. I ask will they go ahead and book me an appointment now?

Oh yes. We'll send you one out in the post.

NHS efficiency at its best.

5 comments:

Becca said...

The wheelchair service works in two ways, basically.

Either: 1) They loan you a chair, which they own, you're borrowing, you can change for a better one if it doesn't work, they maintain if it breaks etc...

OR: 2) They give you a voucher equivalent to approximate value of above chair, plus a bit for maintenance etc, and you're free to add whatever cash of your own to it and go off and pick a chair (as long as it suits your needs) from wherever you so wish.

It sounds like you may be signed up for Option 2 but once you actually get into the clinic (which will likely be at a Disablement Services Centre or Wheelchair Centre) and meet your Rehabilitation Technicial, aka Nice Wheelchair Man, you'll be able to tweak this all much more thoroughly, he'll show you some chairs and let you try some out and so on.

Good luck!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Welcome Becca, and thanks so much for that really helpful explanation. In all honesty I'm at that...too 'cripped' out place at the moment where I could look it all up for myself, but I'm overloaded and can't be arsed. You have saved me alot of time and effort, I thank you!

Oh, but they haven't sent me out an appointment yet. Typically. Bendy Girl x

Becca said...

You're most welcome. Quite possible to ring them up and nag in the meantime - it's amazing how easily referrals get 'lost' and a quick chat to a friendly receptionist in which you stress how hard a time you're having sans chair and ask wistfully how long she thinks the wait will be... can work wonders. Yknow. In a totally not-cheating-the-system kind of way.

PS Comprehension Dawns is theoretically my 'active' blog but I've had a rather rough year, hence its lack of updatedness. One of these days I'll get round to it...

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You know what amazes me? Im at the beach and in a basketball court near by, I see a man in a wheel chair playing basketball. It just goes to prove that nothing can stop you from whatever it is you want to do. That is what I call love for the game.

Thanks,
-Scott L

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