Scots children at risk by unlawful block on disability equipment

Disabled child

Blanket bans are being used as an excuse not to supply vital equipment 

26th November 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

New data reveals that more than 24,000 disabled children in Scotland are being held back because they aren’t being provided with the equipment they need by councils.

The findings are part of a UK study by the charity Newlife that found 300,000 children across the UK were unable to access disability equipment.

It found that 56% of local councils in Scotland and 50% across the whole of the UK are blocking provision of specialist car seats for disabled children through the use of blanket bans, meaning the council has a policy to deny certain types of equipment under any circumstance.

And the charity has warned the blanket ban is potentially illegal.  

The most prevalent use of a blanket ban today is the widespread refusal of councils to fund specialist car seats to children who have a clear medical or safety need identified by a qualified professional. These specialised seats are required to keep children with musculoskeletal disorders, seizure disorders or a compromised airway safe.

However, Newlife have also identified blanket bans on walking frames, specialised buggies, arm supports and high-sided safety beds.

Clare Dangerfield, public affairs manager at Newlife, said: “Although there has been a clear improvement in the number of children now affected by blanket bans, the fact is that as many as 302,223 children are still at risk.

“Will it take a fatality for these councils to recognise their legal duty to provide the equipment needed to keep these children safe?”

As a result, Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children has provided equipment to more than 1,200 families in crisis in the past year alone, granting equipment with a total value of over £1,100,000 to ensure vulnerable children are not left at risk of catastrophic injury or even death.

Dangerfield added: “It’s simply not acceptable for councils to use to blanket ban policies to push costs back onto parents.

“While a standard car-seat costs just £100, the kind of adapted seat required by disabled and terminally ill children can cost up to 35x as much. Forcing parents to cover the cost of equipment denied by their council due to austerity measures drives families into poverty.”