Why having the right wheelchair can be life changing

Paula Moulton is an international award-winning wheelchair dancer, who represents one half of the dance partnership called Strictly Wheels.

Paula and her dance partner Gary Lyness entered Britain’s Got Talent in 2012. They wowed the judges with their audition and made it to the live shows in front of 12 million viewers.

Paula took part in a recent conference where experts, service users, professional associations and clinical colleagues from across England came together to launch a new campaign, called My Voice, My Wheelchair, My Life.

The campaign aims to transform NHS wheelchair services to ensure users get the right chair for their needs at the right time, and have appropriate and continuing support afterwards.

The My Voice, My Wheelchair, My Life campaign came from a Change Day pledge, made by NHS England in 2014, “to bring wheelchair users together with NHS clinicians and managers, and with third sector organisations, to improve services across England”.

Sir David Nicholson, former Chief Executive Officer of NHS England, made a live pledge at the NHS Change Day 2014 learning event to bring together people across the country, who are dedicated to improving services for people who use wheelchairs. You can view a video of his pledge.

For people with complex, long term conditions, being able to access the right wheelchair quickly and with appropriate support is of paramount importance. Unfortunately this doesn't always happen. People often find themselves waiting a long time for wheelchairs, they develop secondary health complications resulting from an unsuitable wheelchair and there is often a lack of clarity and consistency around eligibility criteria for NHS funding of wheelchairs.

The vision of My Voice, My Wheelchair, My Life is to mobilise and galvanise commitment groups to transform wheelchair services to a point where users with complex and changing needs can always get the right wheelchair for their needs in a timely way, and appropriate and continuing support.

Paula told us why having the right equipment gave her her life back, allowed her to live independently and enabled her to compete for her country in her chosen sport.

You can find out more about My Voice, My Wheelchair, My Life on the NHS website.

  • 100 Days of Change
  • Campaigns > Change Day 2015
  • Campaigns
Download acrobat reader