Electric Wheelchair Assessment – Being assessed for disability aids is stressful enough, to say the least. When you’re faced with someone who is telling you what you do and don’t need due to your disability. This can be soul-destroying, frustrating, belittling and extremely angering! This was how I was made to feel when I was being assessed for my Electric Wheelchair!
I have been a full-time wheelchair user for over 15 years and I’ve had my disability (Arthrogryposis) since birth. I do believe that makes me an expert on MY disability, not anyone else!
Having had my previous electric chair for over 5 years, I was due to have this replaced. I, therefore, needed an assessment for a new wheelchair. This would be done at my NHS wheelchair service.
At my assessment, I was happily told by my clinician that I would be having the “Invacare Fox” wheelchair! This decision was made without any discussion with me. (This immediately set the tone for this assessment)! How did this decision get made without discussing this with the person who was actually going to use the wheelchair and finding out first, if anything has changed? Is this not the point of an assessment?
My clinician’s attitude was that of excitement as she totally believed The Invacare Fox electric wheelchair was the one for me. She brought the wheelchair out to me and immediately expected me to be as elated as her. Instead, I could tell immediately, this was not the chair for me!
I went with the flow and got into the chair. I told my clinician that the footrest hangers were digging into the side of my knees. Not a problem she said, this can be rectified by adding some padding to the shoulders. I explained this had been done on a previous chair and it only made matters worse. (I still have the indentations in my legs) and I showed her these.
She seemed put out and went on to say we could put cushions down my side. (Between me and the armrest guard). Again, I explained this would not be suitable as I self-transfer in and out of my chair regularly. The cushions would fall to the floor repeatedly and as I can not reach the floor, I would not be able to retrieve them.
Problem After Problem
The issues being presented, included armrests not being height adjustable, to which she claimed having one shoulder higher, will cause problems in the future. (So, the fact I need one arm higher to keep my back straight, to prevent pain is not relevant?) 15 years down the road and I am still not suffering any pain in my shoulder!!
She explained that another type of armrest could be fitted if I really wanted them height adjustable. Errmm I don’t “want” them I told her, I “need” them to be adjustable. I wasn’t willing to accept the chair until she confirmed the armrest could actually come adjustable. Guess what? They didn’t! Thankfully she didn’t mention sticking cushions to the armrests to make them higher!!
The backrest of the chair was tilted backwards and unable to be repositioned. Which meant I would be slightly reclined sitting in the wheelchair. Again, I need to be sitting as upright as possible, to prevent back pain. Clinicians response was to have a different backrest. She attached a different backrest that was one of the options for the chair. This backrest was completely uncomfortable and prevented a full range of movement.
So once again, rather than give in to the fact that this wheelchair was completely unsuitable. She suggested using cushions with the original backrest. She likes these bloody cushions!!
I was getting really fed up now, I told her that I would definitely NOT be having this chair. She banged on about not having any other suitable chairs for me and that budget didn’t allow for anything else. I said she (wheelchair service) had a duty of care to make sure any wheelchair supplied to me fits my needs. This chair didn’t, so she was going to have to sort it out.
As you can imagine, I was both disappointed and furious leaving my so-called assessment. When I got home, I phoned the wheelchair service to explain what had happened and requested another assessment, only this time with someone different.
Thankfully this is what exactly happened. I had an assessment with a different clinician. A lady I had dealt with many time previously and a sales rep from presumably one of their suppliers.
I was shown one wheelchair, unfortunately, it escapes my memory as to what it was called. This again was not suitable, the footrests were causing issues and no alternative option available for the chair. They then showed me an Invacare Spectra XTR2. When I sat in this, I immediately felt the difference. I was then told this particular chair came with tilt and recline. This would make all the difference for my back. (My Spectra XTR2 Review).
I rode it out to our car in the car park to make sure it would fit, (we had a Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer at the time) and already had car ramps for my chair I was using at the time. Took a little while but we worked out how the chair would fit in the car. It was agreed that this chair was the most suitable for me and I could expect to receive the chair in a few weeks.
Attitude Is Everything!
Attitude is indeed very important. Here I was, having a supposed assessment for an electric wheelchair and I was told the decision had already been decided (without me) as to what chair I was going to receive!! No wonder I was peed off!!
My clinician came across like she was hell-bent on the fact that the Fox was the right chair for me and took whatever measures necessary to make it work. It didn’t seem to matter to her if this made my life more difficult and/or painful!! Trouble was, her solution was always the same, stuff a cushion there and problem solved.
Unfortunately for her, her attitude regarding the chair and me put me right off from the offset. I knew very early on that this was not the chair for me, so for a quiet life, I switched off and just went through the motions until I knew I couldn’t take anymore and decided to tell her so!
We all know how bad funding is in the NHS but this is NO excuse to decide what life-changing equipment a person is GOING to have BEFORE even discussing it with the client/patient etc.
I’ve had my fair share of sales-people try to force disability products onto me and I have learned the hard way to stick up for myself and this was why I said no to the Fox. I practically demanded another assessment with someone else and If I hadn’t, I may have ended up with a wheelchair that would have caused me no end of trouble and even severe pain in my back. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. It is your health, your body that will be affected if you don’t.
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NHS Wheelchair Service/Repairers: Is Yours “Fit For Purpose”? – Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, NHS Wheelchair Service, supplied me with my Spectra XTR 2 electric wheelchair. The batteries on my wheelchair unfortunately leaked and caused £4,000 worth of damage to all my floors. How well does your NHS W.S deal with things when they go wrong? In my experience, mine turns it’s back in the hope the problem goes away.
Is Your NHS Wheelchair Service “Fit For Purpose”? Have you received failed appointments, wrong parts? Has faulty parts damaged your home, “duty of care missing”?
Read on…. WARNING!!! In-depth blog. All identifying names have been removed from any/all correspondence shown or copied.
My New Chair – Unfit for Purpose?
I thought I would share the nightmare experience I had with my NHS Wheelchair Service (W.S) at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, under (St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).
After receiving my brand new electric indoor/outdoor wheelchair in Oct 2017, an Invacare Spectra XTR2, (read my review of my Spectra here). I thought this chair was the bee’s knees as it had all the bells and whistles like tilt & recline facility.
In June of the following year (2018), I had to have my batteries replaced. This was due to them not charging correctly so they would run out of juice far too quickly. I also noticed my batteries were not heavy-duty, so they were being changed for heavy-duty batteries, (which is what I was supposed to have been given in the 1st place). I had several issues with the engineer not arriving at the time, or on the day specified. Nevertheless, they were eventually changed, so all should be well from here on!!
Literally a year to the date I had to report another fault with my batteries. (The same problem as before). I was concerned as I had noticed what looked like stains on my wooden floors all over my home and holes in my bedroom carpet that looked like burn marks. Now, these marks were on my floors where I would park my wheelchair for periods of time. At the kitchen table where I would eat, middle of my lounge floor where I sat to watch TV, at my desk, at the entrance of my through-floor lift and in my bedroom where I would charge my chair overnight.
I decided I would check this out once the engineer was here and able to look at the burn marks himself. When the engineer came out with my new batteries, I showed him the burn marks and he agreed it did indeed look like my batteries had/were leaking. This was confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt, once he took them outside to change them over for the new ones. The plastic box, that housed the batteries were full of liquid. The engineer took photo’s of my damaged floors and told me he would take them back to the depot and get the deputy lead to contact me.
Contact with AJM – Compensation Request
I waited a couple of weeks and as I had heard nothing from the repairers AJM Healthcare, I contacted the deputy lead asking if my engineer had spoken to him regarding my leaking batteries and the damage they had caused? He responded saying this is the first he had heard of it and when my engineer returns to the depot, he would speak to him and update me the following day. I received no update!!
A week had passed so I had to contact AJM again, this time in writing. This was their response: (X = My engineer).
Thank you for your patience while I investigated this issue. I have spoken to “X” and having looked at the pictures “X” has taken it is clear that gel has been leaking from the batteries. “X” also explained that when he said the previous engineer had not fitted them correctly he meant that they had not been connected as tightly as they should be, this would not cause the batteries to leak as they are a sealed unit. We have also checked this with the manufacturer of them.
I have also checked back on our database and it seems these were last
changed 08.06.2018 and have been on the chair for a year.
Unfortunately AJM are unable to accept responsibility for any damage caused for the batteries leaking and as such will not be able to compensate you for any damage caused.
As per your Terms and Conditions of Loan with the Wheelchair Service they suggest you have personal accident / damage cover in place for this such an incident to claim against.
Hmmm, ok, as per my T&C of loan? I was never given any T&C, so I couldn’t argue that point. (As it turned out, (because I had to ask for a copy at one of the wheelchair user group meetings) the T&C doesn’t say that at all! It does, however, advise holiday insurance for your chair when travelling abroad). So, me being me, asked for further info regarding my batteries!!!
So I emailed AJM once again.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act, general
goodwill act or whatever act is necessary; please can you provide the following
information to me:
Paperwork showing the date the faulty batteries were purchased by AJM and where they were purchased from.
How and where were the batteries stored?
Who is the manufacturer of batteries?
Were the faulty batteries inspected at any time before installing onto my Electric Wheelchair? If so please provide corresponding report/paperwork showing what was entailed in this inspection.
Were the batteries charged before delivering to me? If so, please provide corresponding paperwork.
Copies of the PPM reports that have been performed on my Spectra XTR2 electric wheelchair.
Explanation of what you mean by a “Sealed Unit” actually means.
Have the faulty batteries been inspected since being returned to AJM, to find out the cause of the leakage? If so, what were your findings, please supply this report.
Full explanation of how the faulty batteries had been connected incorrectly and why this would NOT have contributed to the batteries leaking.
This information should arrive at me via email, no later than 14 days from the date of this email.
Again, I had to chase up AJM as they obviously didn’t respond within the 14 days as stated! Finally, now in September 2019, I received a reply. (answers are in bold):
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act, general
goodwill act or whatever act is necessary; please can you provide the following
information to me:
Paperwork showing the date the faulty batteries were purchased by AJM and where they were purchased from. We are unable to determine the date the batteries were purchased as they come in batch quantities but I can confirm they were purchased from MK Batteries.
How and where were the batteries stored? The batteries are stored in our stores in a caged area in the packaging they were delivered in.
Who is the manufacturer of batteries? MK Batteries.
Were the faulty batteries inspected at any time before installing onto my Electric Wheelchair? If so please provide corresponding report/paperwork showing what was entailed in this inspection. The batteries are inspected by the Fse before he fits them. We do not have any paperwork.
Were the batteries charged before delivering to me? If so, please provide corresponding paperwork. The batteries have 80% charge from the manufacturer so we do not need to charge them. Clients are advised to fully charge overnight before using the chair.
Copies of the PPM reports that have been performed on my Spectra XTR2 electric wheelchair. This chair has not had a PPM.
Explanation of what you mean by a “Sealed Unit” actually means. One single unit pre built, no part is able to be removed.
Have the faulty batteries been inspected since being returned to AJM, to find out the cause of the leakage? If so, what were your findings, please supply this report. The batteries have been scrapped which is the normal procedure.
Full explanation of how the faulty batteries had been connected incorrectly and why this would NOT have contributed to the batteries leaking. The connection from the chair to the battery terminals were not tightened enough, this would not be any connection to the batteries leaking as a) No pressure is put on the batteries and b) the batteries are kept in place by the tray not the connection.
This information should arrive at me via email, no later than 14 days from the date of this email.
Yes, he basically copied and pasted my original email and added one sentence and deemed this an adequate response!
Ok, so let’s break this lot down.
Q1 – A professional repair company is unable to determine when they purchased a batch shipment of batteries?? Indeed, 30-40 batteries costing approx £230 each are so easily misplaced!! There must be paperwork for this order!
Q2 – This is not how MK Batteries advise they should be stored. This is what MK says:
Q4 – If my memory serves me right, I believe at one of the user group meetings, it was explained that the Fse is the engineer that comes to your home to do the repairs. So, if this is correct, then he is the one who fitted my batteries incorrectly! (The previous engineer, to the one I have at present).
Q5 – Again, not advice from MK. Also, at many of the wheelchair user group meetings, it has been discussed that clients are so dependant on their/our chairs, replacement batteries should always be fully charged before fitting onto a client’s electric wheelchair. This was agreed by all parties involved, including AJM who attended these meetings. Also, AJM never advises clients to charge their chair overnight. The majority of the time, engineers come in, do what needs to be done and are gone again as quickly as possible.
Q6 – PPM is an annual service of our electric wheelchairs. So, 2 years down the road, my chair has not had one PPM done….Shocked yet?
Q7 – Well, that explains everything to Mrs Joe Bloggs, doesn’t it!
Q8 – The biggie – Scrapped!!!!! No, I found out later on from the wheelchair service this is not, I repeat NOT normal procedure!! AJM should have allowed the wheelchair service access to these batteries, so they could perform a FULL investigation!! (What are they trying to hide?)
NHS Wheelchair Service – Formal Complaint
NHS Wheelchair Service/repairers | Is Yours Fit For Purpose? – So, now on my 2nd set of batteries and believing my battery problem is now solved, I now need to sort out my floors and figure out if I am entitled to compensation for the damage caused. I was advised to get independent professional quotes for my formal complaint. The quotes were to replace all damaged flooring (as wooden laminate flooring can NOT be repaired) and came back just shy of £4,000. So I make my formal complaint to the wheelchair service’s complaints department and start the complaints procedure. I put everything down on paper and explain everything in great detail.
NHS Reply (click for larger image):
I was extremely disappointed in their reply, I stupidly expected more from the NHS, so I took them up on their offer of a meeting.
A meeting was arranged with the head of the wheelchair service and hospital director. I had my meeting on December 18th 2019. It went ok I suppose, the usual, the “we are sorry” bit and no shouting (on my part!) I kept calm and explained my grievance to both of them. In the end, I was offered two options:
Local resolution – for claims up to £1k, which could be expedited quickly
· NHS claim resolution – for claims over £1k, which would be a more lengthy process
As the damage to my home was quoted at £3,800 and £3,900, I took the latter.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I am nervous my batteries would leak again, so around 4 months after having them fitted, I had them checked. They were fitted in July 2019 and we are now in December 2019. Guess what? I was astounded to see that these batteries are also showing signs of leaking?? WTF is going on with these batteries?? You can see below the start of the batteries leaking with just FOUR months of usage!! Maybe now you can imagine how much leakage there would have been in the first set of batteries after a full year of usage!! No wonder AJM wanted rid of them! So again, they were replaced.
I phoned the W.S immediately after my engineer left, explained the situation and told them they need to get hold of these batteries before AJM “dispose” of these batteries. Before an investigation can be done on them! (The batteries you see above were replaced 2/12/19). So in the space of 2 years, I’m on my 3rd set of batteries. Oh, the W.S informed me that AJM confirmed they would quarantine the batteries so they could be investigated by the W.S. (Remember that fact, it becomes important shortly).
In the pictures below, these are the 2nd set of batteries (checked 4 months after being fitted). The 1st pic shows the leak that the deputy lead from AJM saw. He wiped the batteries dry, less than 24 hours apart, the other pictures clearly show how much liquid has formed overnight, shocking really!
The above batteries were wiped dry by the deputy lead from AJM
Signs of leaking again, just 3 days later.24 hours later from the image above, shows how much liquid has formed overnight.
Battery Investigation – Deliberate Fraud?
An investigation was performed on the 2nd set of batteries that had been removed from my chair and quarantined. The result of this investigation is shown below:
“There is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid”.
They say “there is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid”. Hang on, what??
“there is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid“. Just let that sink in!!
There is no evidence that the current or previous set of batteries…….Previous set of batteries? These were DISPOSED of by AJM!! So your basis for this is what?
“Or have the potential to leak”….EVERYTHING has the potential to leak, nothing is foolproof as my PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE clearly shows. Plus the deputy lead himself confirmed the batteries leaked.
“there is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid”. Would this have something to do with the fact the inspection/investigation was performed on a completely…….different……set……of……batteries!!!
You really couldn’t make this shit up if you tried!!!!
2nd set of batteries removed from my chair to be quarantined.
Batteries inspected by Wheelchair Service
Look at the images above showing my leaking batteries, then look at the batteries in the inspection letter. How many differences can you see? I make 4 main differences!!
M – Warning sticker & bar code sticker. IB – Sunrise sticker (In different area on the battery).
M – Has no yellow label hanging from the handle. IB – Has a yellow label.
M – No hexagonal nuts across the batteries. IB – 6 hexagonal nuts going across both batteries.
I emailed the W.S to get clarification on the matter 8/2/20:
Dear Mrs….., I have one question, please. The batteries pictured on Page 1 of the report on the investigation into my chair batteries you sent me on 9/1/20 are these the batteries that the investigation was performed on? Kind regards
Thank you for your email.
I can confirm that the photos included in the report are the batteries that were inspected at AJM on the 20th of December. These are the batteries that had been placed in quarantine following removal from your powerchair.
I didn’t bother replying back as the incompetence shown, just stunned me into silence. This is beyond astounding!! The head of the Wheelchair Service, read, investigated and replied to my original complaint. Stated in this complaint many times by myself and AJM, was the fact my batteries were from MK Batteries. Not Sunrise as shown in the image.
How on earth does that kind of mistake happen?? Seriously, how??
I phoned the W.S directly after my engineer left my home with the leaking batteries, asking them to make sure these batteries are not “disposed” of. I was assured they would get these batteries quarantined.
My engineer mentioned he would have to package my batteries separately from other items in his van to prevent contamination.
The head of the W.S received a copy of this inspection.
So, if all of these things happened, how in the world did the wrong batteries get given to the W.S when they went to AJM’s depot to perform the inspection?? My opinion. A deliberate act of falsifying evidence to alter the results of the investigation performed by the W.S. The question now, is what part does the wheelchair service play in all of this? (To this day, the W.S have made no further comment on this cock-up or taken any measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again).
Of course, I forwarded my findings in the form of a letter to the hospital director, head of the wheelchair service and the resolution team, all 5 pages worth (hence why I haven’t shown it here). I asked for acknowledgement of receipt of my letter, nothing as yet…Are 2 days long enough to expect an acknowledgement? or am I being impatient?
In January 2020, my batteries were yet again changed and I was given a new charger. I was told, “just in case” this played a part. Seriously, how many times will this need to happen? I already have no confidence whatsoever in the batteries being supplied to me by AJM and terrified if and when I get my floors sorted out that the same issue won’t happen again!!!
I have been given no assurances by the wheelchair service, actually, I’ve had no further correspondence from them at all, just told if I wish to claim, it will be a lengthy process and if I have home insurance, they advise me to claim on that! I’m sure you do, your performance record stays clean that way!! (Oh, heads up, home insurance doesn’t cover you unless you have accidental damage cover which is an add on at an extra premium price. Or at least this is the case with Nationwide’s Home Contents Insurance).
As I am making a claim through the hospital claims department (NHS Resolution) I received a letter asking me for more info, so I sent it.
I don’t think they are going to be very happy with me as it turned out to be 9 pages long. Well, I didn’t want to leave anything out for them to use against me. It’s so annoying as you always think of more information you could have supplied after sending letter/email. I have had no confirmation that they have received my reply even though I sent a separate email asking for one. So now I am worried they haven’t received it.
I decided to phone to see if he had received my email, he confirmed he had. I then received this email from him:
Good afternoon Mrs X,
I refer to our telephone conversation yesterday lunchtime & acknowledge receipt of your e-mail dated 3/2/20.
I am sorry that this matter has dragged on for so long – I’m sure it would’ve been resolved by now if liability was admitted, but as you know this is not the case. As you are aware, the Trust does not supply the batteries and AJ Mobility Ltd (an independent contractor) is contracted by the Trust to maintain and repair the wheelchairs, so there are other parties involved and we need to liaise with them.
We are awaiting further information/instructions from the Trust and our further advices will follow as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we would respectfully advise that if and when liability is resolved, any settlement proposals will be on an indemnity basis, that is a deduction will be made for wear and tear based on the age of the damaged flooring and carpet.
Is it my imagination or have I been very badly treated throughout this whole process? If I was someone less able to stand up for myself, I wouldn’t have stood a chance against this lot.
My personal opinion is AJM has known all along they have a problem with their batteries. Now they have come up against someone who has caught them out and trying to hold them accountable, they are running around like headless chickens trying to cover up their incompetence.
Why else would they dispose of the 1st set of batteries immediately and then deny even knowing the batteries had been returned?
As a company, you must have a paper trail of stock bought for tax, insurance purposes at the very least.
You don’t “accidentally” make a mistake like quarantining the wrong batteries. I believe, AJM purposefully supplied the wrong batteries to be investigated to the Wheelchair Service?
How involved in this “mistake” is the Wheelchair Service. Why did they not check serial numbers of batteries removed from my chair against the ones being inspected? How did they not see the Sunrise sticker when they already knew my batteries were supplied by MK Batteries?
Why did the W.S ignore all previous complaints made by their wheelchair users regarding underperforming batteries? Why didn’t the W.S investigate these complaints?
I would like to know why haven’t the W.S not investigated the reasons for the swap? Or are they aware their investigative skills are more than useless?
I even tried to get my local MP Ruth Cadbury involved, for all the good that did me. One of her aids just emailed me links to the CAB and such like.
When this all started, I contacted my legal helpline (through my home insurance) as obviously, I needed advice. This case, unfortunately, didn’t come under any consumer act laws, as I didn’t “purchase” my chair. (Hence why I contacted my local MP).
My wheelchair is supplied by the NHS for free, under a loan agreement. (Well, if that’s what you call 4-6 bullet point loan agreement!) So under my insurance policy T&C, they were unable to help me take legal action. So, in light of all this new information (above) and lack of duty of care etc, I contacted my solicitor again. I was told I have a good case of negligence but would have to take this to court myself, as again my policy doesn’t cover this type of case.
(Nationwide, your policy is not worth the paper it’s written on. Shame your so-called “Advisor” didn’t “advise” me how the “Accidental Cover” worked. I won’t be renewing my policy!) I was advised to make going to court my last resort and to give the hospital the opportunity to settle out of court. Yeah like that will happen!! So this is why I sent my 5-page letter to the hospital with my new findings. If/when I get a reply, you know I’ll let you know.
AJM Delay Tactics – Ignoring the Problem Won’t Make it Go Away!
I eventually received a reply from NHS Resolutions (NHS.R) explaining their delay in responding to me, was due to trying to get a resolution from AJM and in the way of an explanation, sent me the conversation between them and AJM. (People’s names have been removed).
NHS Resolutions = Pink text | AJM = Blue text
NHS Resolutions – 16 April 2020:
I am sorry for the delay in coming back to you regarding your claim, but enclose by way of a update an e-mail exchange between ourselves and AJM.
As you will see, they have agreed to re-investigate this matter although this was before the current global pandemic escalated, so I don’t know whether AJM have made contact with you again yet. However, I wanted to keep you in the loop because I am not yet able to provide you with our formal response and anticipate that it will be at least a month or two before I am able to do so. That said, you will note the Trust’s position from my e-mail dated 21/2/20.
Our further advices will follow as soon as possible.
I have to wait another month OR two?? AJM has refused to respond in the NINE months since my original reporting of the fault and Seven months since the start of this claim, what makes him think they will now respond in TWO months??????
NHS.R – 21 February 2020 :
Further to my previous e-mail dated 11/2/20, I enclose another e-mail we have received from the Claimant containing “new evidence” for your attention.
As you will see, the allegations are primarily against AJM & we remain of the view that this claim is one for you &/or your insurers to deal with before it litigates or escalates.
I therefore look forward to hearing from you or your insurers ASAP please.
MR X– can you please respond on behalf of the Trust. You may already be aware of it because the Claimant has also sent it to Miss A & Mr B.
NHS.R – 16 March 2020 :
I refer to my e-mails dated 11/2/20 & 21/2/20 & cannot trace having received a response for either yourself or your insurers yet.
Can you please respond urgently.
AJM – 18 March 2020
Apologies I have not responded, for some reason your emails went to junk folder.
In regards to the client we investigated fully and in depth and AJM were found not to be at fault.
The batteries that were in the chair had been in for over a year before they failed and were out of warranty period. The batteries were not fitted incorrectly and were the right type for the chair the client is in. The reasons for them failing could be down to charging regime but that is difficult to ascertain.
My apologies that this seems to be continuing as the last I knew it was with the WCS as is their equipment on the back of our findings with no further contact from them. If you would like me to re-visit this situation with you then I will be happy to do so. Just to add that this situation at investigation did involve the National Operations Manager for the company and was taken seriously and fully investigated.
So now they are suggesting it is how I charge my chair? I have charged my chair the same way I always have for the past 16 years but of course, that could be the reason! AJM, not at fault? Well, of course, they’re going to say that! An investigation was performed on what could only be described as brand new batteries by the W.S. Of course, AJM couldn’t possibly be at fault!! AJM claims their National Operations Manager was involved, yet, deliberate mistakes were STILL being made!! (I digress).
NHS.R – 18 March 2020
Thanks for your response.
Your suggestion to revisit the situation is welcome although the Trust, like I do, remain of the view that this claim is one for AJM to pick up as the alleged failings are attributed to AJM’s negligence. The Claimant has made further allegations in her most recent letter dated 12/2/20, which I trust that you have seen, & should be grateful if you would respond to these when you reply. Do you intend to contact the Claimant as part of your re-investigation? How much time will you need? Our liability response is due on Monday 23/3/20 & I am on leave from tomorrow until next Tuesday, so I really need to contact her today to keep her in the loop.
I look forward to hearing from you by return.
AJM – 18 March 2020
I will speak to my Line Manager about the situation and see what he would like to do. The hope is that we have all of the investigation notes that we can send on for you to look at so you are fully in the picture. I will contact the client next week when I hear back from him. As you can appreciate we are fully engaged this week with strategy planning in light of the current situation with the Coronavirus.
No, you didn’t contact me then or at point in the future!!
NHS.R – 16 April 2020
Can you please advise the present position regarding your re-investigation & response to the Claimant’s new allegations. I appreciate that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, but I still need to keep her in the loop & provide a timescale, particualrly as our liability response is overdue.
I look forward to hearing from you ASAP.
And that was that!! Or was it, yep, you know me by now, I sent another email to NHS.R
I know this will end up in the small claims court. Something I so didn’t want to happen or relish going through but in all fairness, with how things have progressed to date, what other results can one see happening??
UPDATE – 15th June 2020
Tomorrow is the deadline for the extra time NHS.R so kindly gave themselves. I had no choice in this matter you see, he gave himself a month or two extra as he still hadn’t heard from AJM!! Ha….What a surprise!!! Exactly TWO MONTHS tomorrow is the deadline. Hedge any bets as to whether or not I will get a reply? Let alone a satisfactory one??
Formal Response – NHS Resolutions
Well now…..I got a response! 5:50pm talk about milk this out to the last knockings!! This is what they said:
Good afternoon Mrs X,
I am pleased to inform you that, after prolonged negotiations, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (who we act for) and AJM Healthcare (who we don’t) have finally come to an agreement in relation to sharing your claim between them, with NHS Resolution dealing with the negotiations. I am sorry that it has taken so long to get to this point, but hopefully the matter can proceed more speedily from now on.
Turning to the value of your claim (quantum), it is difficult to obtain any context from the close up photos you have provided and we wonder whether you can provide a floor plan with measurements and photos, showing the damage in context with rest of the affected rooms and the general condition of the flooring and carpet. It is also unclear whether all of the stains have been caused by the acid and if indeed, any of them can be professionally removed – the estimates you have provided make no reference to this or indicate whether the carpet/flooring is a like for like replacement.
We would also advise that you are only be entitled to recover the cost of replacement (assuming none of the stains can be removed) less a deduction for wear and tear. I note that the floors are between one and eight years old and that you have no receipts although if the kitchen floor was only one year old, are you able to remember the supplier? If so, can you go back and obtain copy of the original invoice from them? Finally, please note that we are also unable to pay for undamaged areas if there are doors or physical barriers in between, so again a plan/more photos would be useful.
Notwithstanding the above, we are keen to see an early resolution to his matter now that liability is no longer an issue and are willing to offer you the sum of £1,500 in full and final settlement of your claim. If this amount is acceptable, kindly provide your bank details and I will ask the Trust to make a BACS payment to you as soon as possible. If not, please provide the additonal information requested above.
I look forward to hearing from you.
He looks forward to hearing from me? Yeah right, only if I’m willing to accept their pitiful offer!
So the Trust & AJM are willing to “share” my claim? So, liability has been accepted then! Well, dig deeper guys and do the right thing.
Value of my claim? Quantum? What the hell is that?? Ok a quick search revealed this: Quantum meruit means “the amount he deserves” or “as much as he has earned”. In most cases it denotes a claim for a reasonable sum in respect of services or goods supplied to the defendant. … A claim for quantum meruit cannot arise if the parties have a contract to pay an agreed sum. Hmm well, that’s a matter of opinion!
(Provide a floor plan with measurements and photos) Yes, of course, I’ll have my private architect get right on that for you!! Why was this not asked for at an earlier date?
“It is also unclear whether all of the stains have been caused by the acid and if indeed, any of them can be professionally removed” – Stains?? Woah, Woah there, let’s get this clear here and now, they are NOT stains, they are burns caused by a corrosive substance! I have already explained in my in-depth correspondence to NHS.R, these BURNS are only where I park my chair for a period of time – At my desk, where I sit to watch tv, where I sit to eat my dinner, where my chair bumps up and down off my through-floor lift, where my chair sits overnight while being charged. I was told from two different professional companies it is impossible to repair wooden flooring as the colours will just not match, even if the same flooring is purchased. Therefore, the burns are unable to be “removed”!! I know a lot of people would claim for better flooring then entitled to. I’m only asking for a like for like replacement……NOT A PENNY MORE!!!! Another thing……Why am I being asked for this information NOW??? You obviously know your offer is laughable and already expect me to refuse this. So, are you now trying other tactics to get out of coughing up?
“We would also advise that you are only be entitled to recover the cost of replacement (assuming none of the stains can be removed)”. – And that is EXACTLY what I have asked for!! The damaged sections can NOT be repaired, the whole damn floor needs to be replaced and that is what I was quoted for. Do you honestly think I want the upheaval and stress, let alone having to vacate my home overnight to have my floors replaced on a whim?
“if the kitchen floor was only one year old, are you able to remember the supplier? If so, can you go back and obtain copy of the original invoice from them”? – Has anyone ever gone back to a supplier a year after purchasing an item and got a copy of their receipt?? Is that even possible?? Outside of business to business transactions.
“Finally, please note that we are also unable to pay for undamaged areas if there are doors or physical barriers in between, so again a plan/more photos would be useful”. – Now, where did I put my architect’s number?
“Notwithstanding the above, we are keen to see an early resolution to his matter now that liability is no longer an issue and are willing to offer you the sum of £1,500 in full and final settlement of your claim”. – Ummm, kinda proves they’re not expecting me to accept their offer, why else state they are keen to see an early resolution, yet ask me for all this new information, especially AFTER making me an offer??? Again, dodgy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Liability no longer a problem? Maybe I should cease these negotiations with these bunch of ******** and go straight to court!!!
I Will let you know what I decide.
(AJM’s contract with the W.S expired the end of February 2020……It was NOT renewed!! Supposedly, they lost a couple of their contracts around the same time. If true, then says all you need to know about how this company operates)!
I sat and thought long and hard as to what my options were. I decided to refuse their offer. NHS.R came back with another offer of £2,500. Good, £1000 increase but still £1,500 away from what I need, not want, to replace my damaged flooring. I replied stating I would be happy to accept £3,800 as this was the lower of the two quotes, supplied. I’m awaiting their response…..
So I got their response and I’m ecstatic to say they have once again upped their offer to £3,000. This is an offer I am willing to accept! Within this response though, I was told: “it seemed for a very long time that the Trust wouldn’t be contributing anything towards this claim and it was only recently that I managed to broker an agreement between them and AJM. Whilst quantum and liability can be investigated simultaneously, I was reluctant to do so initially when my instructions were to re-direct the claim in its entirety to AJM”. Wow, the Trust really believed they played no part in this fiasco??
It’s not the full amount needed to pay for replacing my floors, (the rest, I will have to find myself) but in all fairness, I knew I was never going to get the full amount. Who does in these type of cases. I was prepared to go to court if needed but obviously, didn’t relish the idea. I was told my case was not covered by any kind of consumer law and although I was told by a solicitor I had a good case of negligence, you can never know what a Judge would make of such a case!
Anyhow, I got the result I had hoped for, so hopefully, now I can put this matter to rest and start getting my health back to some form of normality and hopefully sooner rather than later, get my floors finally replaced.
I was also told: “Please allow up to 30 days for receipt as this is public money”. (Wanna bet they’ll make me wait the full 30 days??). Well, I’ve battled for 11 months, I suppose another 30 days in comparison is nothing!!
All legal avenues were closed to me. Either, my case wasn’t covered or not worth anyone’s time to advise me on my options. (My claim wasn’t for a big enough amount to warrant any solicitor help). Unfortunately, though, this leaves other wheelchair users who use NHS wheelchair services across the country, at risk of being treated the same. I’m disgusted at how I was treated and the fact that these companies can behave this way with no repercussions whatsoever.
The law stinks when the little guy/gal needs legal advice. I noticed that there will be a few legal firms at the Naidex show, (when it’s finally able to go ahead) hopefully one of them will point me in the right direction to make changes!! Then again, probably won’t be financially worth their while, no doubt!!
I finally received my compensation today. What a relief! I….have….now….ordered….my….new….floors….Yaayyy!!! Now for the big upheaval of moving furniture, I have no idea where I am going to store all of it. My whole downstairs flooring is to be replaced, where do you put half a house of furniture? I can’t put it in our bedroom as that flooring is being replaced also. I also have to put my dog with a dog sitter, I can’t have her go through all the stress of workmen in and out, banging, materials lying around etc.
This is the side these companies DON’T want to see or understand……I haven’t claimed for the sheer hell of it you know. I’m really not looking forward to the stress this is all going to cause me!
Sidenote: I’ve had to report another fault to the newly contracted repairers as my chair again, is not holding a charge and is running out of juice far too quickly and is slowing right down.
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