ALL patients needing wheelchairs in Warrington are receiving them within the NHS target time, figures show.

This is despite lengthy delays elsewhere across England, with charity Disability Rights UK commenting that leaving someone without a wheelchair is akin to removing the use of a non-disabled person's legs.

Clinical commissioning groups in England are required to deliver wheelchairs to patients within 18 weeks of a referral.

NHS England data shows all new patients who received wheelchairs in the NHS Warrington CCG area between July and September received them within this timeframe.

But nationally, 11 per cent of adults and around a third of the children who received equipment during the same period had waited longer than four months.

Fazilet Hadi, head of policy at Disability Rights UK, described the national figures as shocking and has called on the NHS to tackle wheelchair waiting times.

She said: “A wheelchair enables mobility within and outside the home, allowing children and adults to get around independently and safely and live the lives they choose.

“Many disabled wheelchair users talk about their wheelchairs as being an extension of their bodies.

“To not have a wheelchair is akin to a non-disabled person not having their legs for a prolonged period of time.”

The data shows considerable disparity in waiting times between CCG areas across England.

Warrington was among just 23 out of 91 CCGs with data available that delivered all prescribed equipment to new patients within 18 weeks.

At the other end of the scale, 78 per cent of patients in North East Lincolnshire waited longer than the target time between July and September.

Different figures show the current annual spend on wheelchair services also differs significantly, with some CCGs spending several million pounds a year, and others, tens of thousands.

The annual spend on wheelchair services nationally equates to £211 per patient and ranges from below £2 per head in Newcastle Gateshead to £800 in Thurrock.

Warrington CCG's annual spend is £372,900, the equivalent of around £119 for each of the 3,138 patients registered.

An NHS spokesman said most people received the right wheelchair for their needs within 18 weeks, but those with specialist requirements may wait longer.