§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the main conclusions of the report on children's wheelchairs mentioned in paragraph 35 of House of Commons Paper 401, "Research and Development Work on Equipment for the Disabled 1980"; why it was decided that no further action should be taken; who made this decision; and if he will make a statement.100W
§ Mr. Rossi
This development of children's wheelchairs was initiated by a consultant and helped financially by the Department. Primarily the aim was to enable easier propulsion, particularly for children with weaker arms by centring the propelling wheels; balance was maintained by adding a further two small wheels. Trials showed that there was some improvement in propulsion for weaker children but it was at the expense of the loss of sideways transfer—as the propelling wheel got in the way—more difficulty on slopes and some loss of facility in folding. Out of the normal processes of consideration a consensus emerged that few children would benefit from the development and most of these could be better helped with a powered wheelchair already available.