The money behind the wheels

Back Up, a UK spinal cord injury charity, has conducted research to find out how wheelchair users fund their wheelchairs. The research found that 48 percent of wheelchair users only received a wheelchair they were happy with after a year. Most users get their first wheelchair from the UK National Health Service (NHS).

The NHS would either supply a chair or offer a budget that could be used by the wheelchair user to choose a chair. Back Up also found that 60 percent of the adult population in the UK believe wheelchair users should only have to wait up to a month for a wheelchair, with a quarter arguing that wheelchair users should get a chair that meets their needs immediately.

Relying on NHS funds increases the waiting time for a suitable chair. For this reason, 39 percent of wheelchair users paid for their chair themselves. Although many still preferred to get assistance from the government, wheelchair users were often still left with a gap of about £3 000 (about R50 536) that came from their own pocket.

While people in the UK believe a wheelchair costs around £1 000 (R16 845), Back Up found that wheelchairs can cost up to £4 000 (R67 381).

ROLLING INSPIRATION would like to know how you afforded your wheelchair. Complete our anonymous survey and see how many other wheelchair users funded their own wheelchair, received a donation or had some help from the South Africa government. Follow the link to a quick and easy survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2BHFK8C.

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