The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will press the State and Federal Governments for action on the long delays at the Tasmanian Health Service’s Seating Clinic, which are seeing some people and their children wait months or even years to get a wheelchair.
“This is another tragic dimension of our broken health system,” Mr Wilkie said. “Constituents are telling me they and their children are waiting months just for an appointment at the Seating Clinic and then sometimes years to get a wheelchair.”
“For example I’ve been told of one three-year-old girl who desperately needs a motorised wheelchair and has already been waiting months. But she’s been told it won’t be completed until next year at the earliest.
“Another heartbreaking example is a constituent who had an initial appointment at the Seating Clinic in March this year, and then another in October this year where they had to go over the same things as their first appointment. They require another 10 appointments and have been told the next available one is in May 2019, and they don’t even have an estimate of when they’ll be able to get the actual wheelchair.
“Constituents are telling me their children are waiting so long for wheelchairs that the splints relied on in the interim have become ill-fitting. The result is great pain which is taking a toll on their quality of life, for example by hindering their ability to play.
“The under-resourcing of the Seating Clinic is a big part of the problem. But the delays are being made worse by the rollout of the NDIS, which is making the process longer and more complicated. Both staff and patients are drowning in paperwork.
“I understand that motorised wheelchairs can be complicated and that they need to be done right. But these delays are unacceptable and people are suffering because of an entirely fixable problem.
“I’m sure the staff are doing the very best they can. But the State Government needs to better resource the Seating Clinic and the Federal Government needs to fix the bureaucratic mess and make the NDIS actually make people’s lives easier, not harder.”
Authorised by Andrew Wilkie MP 188 Collins St Hobart