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NHS POLICY LEAVES BLIND GIRL HOUSEBOUND

The mum of a blind eight-year-old whose NHS wheelchair flipped over and crashed into the road was left too terrified to continue to take her outside.

Lexi Tattal from Muswell Hill was given the wheelchair she could control herself to boost her independence at school. But as she is registered blind and has no awareness of danger this has proved too dangerous to use anywhere else.

Despite the danger, Lexi’s mum Lynette Humphrey’s, says Haringey Council wouldn’t adapt the wheelchair’s brakes to make it safer for Lexi and refused to let her have both a buggy and a wheelchair. She says this gave her no choice but to stop taking Lexi outside – until Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children provided the emergency loan of a specialist buggy.

As well as being registered blind, a life-limiting genetic condition which only 150 in the world are thought to have has left Lexi unable to stand or walk. She has development delay and needs constant supervision to prevent her injuring herself.

Mum Lynette said: “One piece of equipment just doesn’t fit every situation. We had been using a specialist buggy, but had to give it back when they gave Lexi the wheelchair – which is brilliant for school where it’s a safe environment for her to learn new skills, but too dangerous anywhere else.

“I had reached crisis point. It only takes a moment for her to release the brakes and plough into other people or objects. She also injures herself by stopping the wheels with her hands and jams her feet under the footplate, but I couldn’t afford to buy a specialist buggy so it was too dangerous for me to take Lexi outside.

“I was feeling really desperate, especially with the school holidays coming up. We would just be trapped at home all day. Thankfully Lexi’s therapist suggested contacting Newlife – I am so glad I did.

“Now we can go outside and I know Lexi can’t hurt herself. It means we have been able to carry on with everyday life and do so much more together.”

Newlife is the only charity providing emergency loans of specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children, and aims to deliver the equipment within 72 hours. Newlife then works with the family and local health services to ensure that a long-term solution is put into place.

Newlife has provided urgently needed equipment to more than 1,000 children in the last five years.

Carrick Brown, Newlife’s Senior Manager of the Care Services Department, said: “Children’s disabilities don’t always fit neatly into categories and one piece of equipment can’t always fulfil all of a child’s needs, which leaves children, like Lexi, as risk of injury.

“We’re seeing a worrying increase in the number of cases of children who are being denied equipment by local health services despite them being at significant risk of immediate injury or worse. Last year we provided 250 emergency equipment loans of equipment, a 16per cent increase on the previous year.”

Just £1,100 would provide two children with the emergency equipment they need to save or change their lives. If you would like to help a child like Lexi you can make a donation here: www.newlife.support/GiveEEL

 

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