Reposted from a story by: Miles Kemp From: The Advertiser April 01, 2013
Disabled APY resident Roger Pompey and parliamentarian Kelly Vincent. Source: Supplied
A SEVERELY disabled man in the remote APY lands was left to drag himself along the ground for weeks with no working wheelchair while his electronic chair was repaired.
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent took up the man’s cause after a recent visit to the lands in which she found him moving around on the ground because his electric wheelchair was being repaired and he couldn’t work the manual one.
Ms Vincent said she came across the man, Roger Pompey, on the front porch of his house, which he was not able to leave because of the rough terrain.
“He had been reduced to moving around the house on the ground because he could not operate the manual wheelchair provided to him as a replacement while his electric wheelchair was fixed,” Ms Vincent said.
She said that Mr Pompey did not have any helpers when she visited and was not able to use his arms to turn the manual wheelchair’s wheels.
Ms Vincent said that she had to travel to the APY lands with an all-terrain wheelchair because of the area’s lack of accessibility for disabled people.
She said although Mr Pompey’s problem had been resolved as a result of the visit, there was still a “systematic problem” in terms of disability access on the lands.
“The system should not rely on the goodwill of people providing interim solutions for each individual as the problems arise,” he said.
“Even with an all-terrain manual wheelchair I had a lot of difficulty accessing facilities and infrastructure.”
Mr Pompey could not be contacted, but a spokesman for Disability Minister Tony Piccolo said he had been provided with a new motorised wheelchair in November, after Ms Vincent met him on October 7.
The spokesman could not say for how long Mr Pompey had been without the old electric wheelchair.
However, he said it had broken down three times in 2012 and had to be sent to Alice Springs for repairs.
“At those times he was provided with a manual wheelchair and at no stage was he without one,” the spokesman said. “I am also informed that a concrete path has been constructed to allow safe access from the road to Mr Pompey’s home.”
The spokesman said a spare powered wheelchair will be kept on the APY lands.