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Postcode lottery of NHS's equipment revealed

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Figures have found some children under the care of the NHS are subject to a postcode lottery over what equipment they are given because it is relying on charities to fill funding gaps.

According to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, many NHS trusts would not pay the full cost of electric wheelchairs for disabled children and responses from 54% of NHS trusts in England and Scotland, revealed that disabled children in England are forced to wait five months on average for a wheelchair.

Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act found that children under the worst performing primary care trust (PCT), found in the North West, had to wait an average of two years for an electric wheelchair.

The survey showed 58% of children in England had to wait at least three months for an electric wheelchair and 14% wait more than six months.

The results showed 50% of PCTs which responded said they did not fund the full cost of a powered wheelchair for a disabled child, but of 237 children one in three did not receive any funding at all for their wheelchair.

According to almost all the PCTs contacted by the charity the cost of a wheelchair was around£2,000, but the actual cost of a basic electric wheelchair is closer to£3,000.

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