POLITICS

'NHS Cuts Are Costing Me My Freedom' Says Disabled Student Having To Fundraise For New Wheelchair

Rebecca Boot has been waiting for a new assessment since May

27/09/2017 12:19 BST

A disabled woman focred to fundraise for a wheelchair which doesn’t cause her pain has appealed to Theresa May to look again at the impact of spending cuts.

Rebecca Boot, a student at Aston University, told HuffPost UK she has resorted to crowdfunding a new wheelchair as the NHS is unable to carry out a new assessment of her needs.

The 23-year-old has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which causes severe pain; and also suffers from fatigue, frequent dislocations, rapid heart rate, light headedness and fainting when sitting upright or standing.

Rebecca’s current wheelchair leaves in her tremendous pain after just a few hours use, and she has been waiting since May for an NHS appointment to come through.

Speaking to HuffPost UK from Labour’s annual conference in Brighton, Rebecca said she had been forced “to take matters into my own hands” and is trying to raise the £12,000 needed for a new wheelchair through public donations.

She said: “If I use this wheelchair for more than a couple of hours at a time, I get a really big increase in my pain levels. Not only because of the lack of suspension but because it’s a very fixed position with no support.

“The muscles in my back are just really shouting at me by the end of the day. It means I am missing out.

“I can just about do my lectures because I don’t have anything more than two hours at a time but I’m missing out on all the social stuff at uni at the end of the day

“When I come to events like this when I am in my chair all day I’m signing up for being in bed by seven o’clock usually, and it taking several weeks for my pain levels to get back down to normal.

“I feel very frustrated and very tired because as a disabled person I rely on government services a lot and everywhere I turn, every element of my support there’s cuts coming into those services so I’m having to fight on every side at the moment.”

When asked what message she would give to the Prime Minister, Rebecca said: “The impact of the cuts and the funding of wheelchair services, of services for disabled people in a wider thing is really damaging people’s lives, it is holding me back, it is costing me freedom in how I can live, how I can interact with society and actually she needs to look again at how services for disabled people have been cut, because her government is preventing us from being full members of society.”

Rebecca earned applause from delegates when she delivered heartfelt speech from the conference stage on Monday.