Boris Johnson today visited an award-winning partnership that provides wheelchairs for young people, run by a charity and the NHS.
The London Mayor observed five-year-old Maria Michael being assessed for mobility equipment suited to her individual needs, as part of the Making Mobility Happen partnership between charity Whizz-Kidz and Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust (PCT).
He said: "Whizz-Kidz is an excellent charity that makes a huge difference to the lives of many young disabled people.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my visit today and I was impressed by the independence mobility equipment can provide.
"Tower Hamlets and Whizz-Kids are proving that communities can reap the benefits of health partnerships and I wish them continued success."
The partnership was also singled out by Conservative leader David Cameron as he set out his vision for the NHS during a visit to Bolton in August.
He cited the partnership as an exemplary model of wheelchair provision for disabled children and young people and a shining example of how genuine collaborative working could deliver in the NHS.
Ruth Owen, chief executive of Whizz-Kidz, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the Mayor has chosen to highlight the unique partnership between Whizz-Kidz and NHS Tower Hamlets; a partnership that has been proven to deliver a world-class wheelchair service to disabled children and young people in the borough."
Whizz-Kidz started working with NHS Tower Hamlets in 2007, to help it deliver a more child-focused wheelchair service for disabled children in the borough. Since then the partnership has grown and the charity continues to deliver the wheelchair service for children and young people aged up to 25.
The charity's therapists assess all children and young people referred to the service and prescribe mobility equipment that takes account of their educational, social and clinical needs, enabling them to lead independent, full and active lives.
Ruth added: "In 2008 Whizz-Kidz provided 180 children and young people in Tower Hamlets with mobility equipment.
"It is our ambition that every disabled child in the country has the chance to live a full and active life, and develop their independence through having the right equipment, at the right time.
"With that ambition in mind, we are in partnership with NHS London to roll out our proven model of working to PCTs across the capital.
"There are 10,000 children and young people in London alone that could greatly benefit from improved mobility equipment and about 70,000 disabled children around the UK watching childhood pass them by.
"We believe that only by working in collaboration with the NHS can our ambition be achieved."
The service was awarded a Dignity in Care Award at the 2008 London Health and Social Care Awards, which recognise innovation and excellence in providing health and social care services.
Alwen Williams OBE, NHS Tower Hamlets chief executive, said: "Our partnership with Whizz-Kidz is providing an exceptional service to disabled children and young people in the borough. The best in healthcare is often achieved by working together with other organisations.
"As such Whizz-Kidz and Tower Hamlets PCT have created a model that health services around the country can follow."Whizz-Kidz supports young people to access the right mobility equipment, including powered wheelchairs, at the right time. It also delivers wheelchair skills-training and other life-skills to help their transition from childhood to adulthood. For more information visit www.whizz-kidz.org.uk
Community Newswire, 4th September 2009