Delays to electric wheelchair leaves Hitchin woman ‘stuck indoors’

Herts County Council

Herts County Council - Credit: Archant

A disabled woman who suffers from cerebral palsy has struggled to leave her home since her electric wheelchair broke down almost two weeks ago.

The Hitchin resident, who has asked to remain anonymous, handed her wheelchair in to Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) for repair on Saturday, June 7, after the base of the chair broke.

The woman, who is in her 20s and whose movement and co-ordination has been affected by cerebral palsy since birth, has now been told the repair will be delayed as a part is not expected to be delivered until the end of next week.

In the meantime she is using a manual wheelchair, which she has difficult manoeuvring due to having no use of one arm.

Speaking to the Comet, she said: “I’m frustrated by this as I lack independence without my wheelchair. I’ve not been able to go into town or to church and have to rely on friends to take me out.

“Because I can’t move myself from the manual wheelchair, I ended up staying in bed for two days this week, which was very uncomfortable.”

The woman is visited by carers four times a day, has a cleaner and goes to a day centre in Stevenage once a week.

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Her cleaner said: “It is so bad she hasn’t been given a replacement, she only has use of her arm and she is stuck in doors. Her social workers are now trying to get her to the day centre three times a week.

“But on Monday her electric hoist broke so she was stuck indoors all day and couldn’t get out of bed.”

A spokesman for HCC, which provides a free repair service, said: “We are making repairs as quickly as possible. When we received the broken wheelchair we ordered the part from the manufacturers which was required to fix the problem. We are awaiting the part from the supplier. As soon as we receive it, the repair will be made.

“We appreciate her frustration that there has been an unavoidable delay and are grateful for her patience.”