Phyllis Harding at her Grafton home.
Phyllis Harding at her Grafton home.

Woman trapped in home due to broken wheelchair

By JENNIFER HUXLEY

newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au

A BROKEN wheelchair and an inability to contact holidaying health officials has left Phyllis Harding stranded in her Grafton home until Tuesday.

Without an operating motorised wheelchair Ms Harding, a quadriplegic, must depend on a carer to tend to her basic needs.

"I have lost my independence and am on the verge of having a nervous breakdown," she said.

"It's a bad time for my chair to break down, but why would anyone allow Grafton Base Hospital to be left unattended over this period?

"Because of situations like this, over the past three years I have spent nine months bedridden."

Director of Medical Services at Grafton Base Hospital Jean Collie said health services representatives would be in contact with Ms Harding on Tuesday.

She said Ms Harding would be given a wheelchair on loan until the broken chair could be repaired or replaced.

Ms Harding said she was happy action was being taken but was uncertain of the outcome.

This is not the first problem Ms Harding has encountered with Clarence Valley health services.

After relocating to Grafton from Bundaberg following a funding crisis in Queensland Health, she has battled to gain access to technology that would ensure her a decent quality of life.

An 18-month wait for a custom-built powered wheelchair proved fruitless for Ms Harding when, after having the new chair for only a few weeks, the front wheels fell off.

"I could have been thrown under a car...another time I was stranded for six hours in my kitchen when the chair stopped dead," she said.

"The local health service is in trouble and just look what they do with their money, they squander it on a hospital lift that doesn't even fit the beds.

"It's been one long battle and I've had enough.



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