Millions of patients denied use of a wheelchair

More than 4 million people a year have been denied the use of a wheelchair despite needing one after breaking a leg or having surgery, the British Red Cross has claimed.

While those who needed a wheelchair for at least six months were generally given one, people needing it for less time often went without, the charity said.

The Red Cross surveyed 139 NHS wheelchair services across the UK, of which 114 could not provide wheelchairs for short-term use of less than six months.

The Red Cross estimated that 4.3 million people a year were missing out on a wheelchair based on a survey of 4,000 people across the UK. Of those, 8.1% had medical or social care needs that would have been alleviated if they had been able to use a wheelchair or mobility aid for a short while. However, just 1.1% of them got the help they needed, the research showed.

The Red Cross, which lends wheelchairs to 60,000 people a year, wants the NHS to be obliged by law to provide the devices on a short-term basis. More


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