MP takes disability case to Minister
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge has taken up the case of a disabled Sudbury woman.
Karen Turner, of Chilton Lodge near Great Waldingfield, suffers from multiple sclerosis and needs to use an electric wheelchair.
She is angry because she has been asked to meet part of the cost of the chair, relating to the hydraulics.
She got in touch with her MP after receiving a bill for £395. She has also been given conflicting advice about whether she has to pay VAT on this amount.
Mr Cartlidge told the Free Press: “I have received an email from Ms Turner outlining her issues with wheelchair services and appreciate that this situation has put her in a very difficult position.
“In response I have raised her case with the Minister for Work and Pensions and have also contacted HMRC.
“I am awaiting responses from these departments. I appreciate that it must be very hard to be in Ms Turner’s position and hope that we are able to assist her in resolving her case.”
Having just taken delivery of her wheelchair after a six-month wait, Ms Turner, 49, was landed with the bill.
She said: “I am very disappointed with our wheelchair services. I have worked all my life, including 18 years with MS, but I had to give up five years ago after many falls.
“Last year my neurologist said I should be in a wheelchair. I was told I can have the chair but would have to pay for the hydraulics. I am surprised and disappointed that I am being asked to pay for something I need.”
Abi Tierney of Serco which provides Suffolk Community Healthcare on behalf of the NHS, said: “We have looked into this case since it was raised with us and clearly a mistake has been made in charging the patient VAT. We’re sorry about this and we are arranging for the money to be reclaimed.”
The NHS does not fund seatrisers, which is part of a national policy, Serco added.