Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Scrapping of IOM wheelchair loan service 'would restrict independence'

Man looking out of window Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The scheme offers support to about 120 people each year

The loss of a "valuable" wheelchair loan service will "restrict the independence" of people recovering from illness or injury, the Council of Voluntary Organisations (CVO) has said.

The Red Cross said it would stop offering the loan scheme on the Isle of Man by the end of the year.

A spokesman said the loss of a government contract had led the charity to "review its operations".

About 120 recuperating Manx patients use the scheme each year.

CVO spokesman David Gawne said the loss would "restrict the ability of people to get out and about and restrict the independence of those who rely on the service".

Talks were taking place within the charity and voluntary sector to "hopefully" transfer the service to another group, he added.

'No longer viable'

Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said it was a "well-used service" that performed a "very valuable social service across the island".

He said his department would explore ways of allowing the service to continue.

Fiona MacLeod of the Red Cross said that while her charity was "reluctant to reduce services", it had to "spend money wisely".

The end of the loan scheme would coincide with the sale of the Red Cross office in Braddan, which has seen reduced use since the loss of a patient transfer contract.

It had provided transport for patients to hospital appointments for a decade but lost the government contract last year.

The closure of the "almost empty" building meant the wheelchair service was no longer viable to offer, Ms MacLeod said.

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