HC Deb 07 July 1997 vol 297 c310W
Mr. Jack

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the actions he proposes to take to ensure that guidance issued to health trusts on the allocations of power-assisted wheelchairs to severely disabled children is properly implemented. [6737]

Mr. Boateng

The Health Service Guidance about powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs, which was issued in May 1996, states clearly that the National Health Service should provide powered chairs for severely disabled people, including children, who could benefit from them. It is the duty of the health authority to assess local needs and determine local eligibility criteria for the supply of powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs, within the broad national framework set out by the NHS Executive. One of the criteria is that the disabled person should be able to handle the chair safely. It is therefore a matter of local decision whether individual disabled children are deemed to be capable of handling a powered chair safely. Health authorities are not allowed to refuse to supply a powered wheelchair solely on age grounds.

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