HC Deb 13 July 1971 vol 821 cc197-8
13. Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make fresh arrangements for the supply of electrically-assisted pushchairs to disabled persons in need.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Michael Alison)

No, Sir. The initial difficulties have been overcome and the arrangements are now satisfactory.

Mr. Farr

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a lot that needs looking at in this problem? First, outdoor electrically - operated patient - controlled chairs are not available under the National Health Service. Second, there has been a considerable hold-up in the supply of indoor electrically-assisted pushchairs. Will my right hon. Friend inquire into this matter, because many people have been waiting for many months due to supply hold-ups?

Mr. Alison

The first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is a separate question from the Question on the Order Paper. As to the second part, I admit that there were difficulties, particularly supply difficulties, but we believe that these have now been overcome and that the supply position has been improved.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Is the Secretary of State aware that the supply difficulties cause very serious inconvenience to many severely disabled people? What progress is being made now in giving severely disabled people powered wheelchairs that can be used on the pavement, as envisaged in Section 20 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act?

Mr. Alison

I readily concede that some inconvenience and difficulty were cause by the component hold-ups, which were due to matters beyond the control of any of those concerned. The second part of the hon. Gentleman's question is a separate matter. If he would care to table a Question specifically on that point I should be happy to answer it.