I am writing to complain about accessibility issues at ACC Whangarei, I am long term disabled after a childhood brain injury, I tested this in a legal case in 1987, because the extent of my disability was being challenged by Work and Income who insisted that I be assessed by their doctors, their doctors were in fairyland and decided my disability was about 30%.
So I took a case to the medical appeals board in 1987, They made a legal ruling that I was 85% disabled, for this reason this complaint should be considered in relation to my disability percentage.
I have breathing issues from the accident with a very narrow airway only 20% the size of a normal airway, so I tire easily I also have accident related hemiplegia.
Ok I am 85% + percent disabled despite this I am very active
On with the complaint, I have lived in Whangarei for 3 years, One of the first things I brought when I arrived in Whangarei was a mobility scooter which I take everywhere. I am able to walk but with pain I am also a high trip hazard and breathing can become laboured as I quickly tire, I do drive, but taking the car means I need to walk when I reach my destination, for this reason I love to get around on my mobility scooter this also has a social benefit.
Getting around my own house is not a huge issue I can mobilise around the house but tend to use the walls to stay upright sometimes.
As a disabled person I believe I have a right of choice of mobility devise. I could choose a wheelchair or I could choose a mobility scooter.
I made my choice of a mobility scooter, in the three years I have lived in Whangarei, this scooter has taken me far and wide, Whangarei central where I live is mostly flat land. In the three years I have lived here it is very rare to find inaccessible buildings, my mobility scooter can go just about anywhere.
I have never had cause to visit ACC Whangarei, but because of a shoulder injury I decided to go and see them on my mobility scooter.
This is where my complaint is.
Upon arriving at ACC Whangarei I started to ride my mobility scooter up the wheelchair ramp I got halfway up and was unable to make the turn. So ACC Whangarei is one of the most inaccessible buildings I had come across in Whangarei. It is not safe for me walking on the wheelchair ramp, I would get up alright, but coming back down would be a major trip hazard as I tend to balance forward.
So I had to abandon my mobility scooter on the footpath, as this was completely unexpected I had to remove everything that could get stolen from the scooter and carry the lot up the stairs, when leaving I also had to use the stairs, this is really unsafe for me but safer than attempting the ramp because of its steepness.
It is my opinion that ACC Whangarei being a health provider that not only serves disabled people but also funds mobility scooters of exactly the same model as mine have a moral responsibility to be accessible to all their customers, it should not matter if that said customer was using either a wheelchair or a mobility scooter. As it stands ACC Whangarei have a wheelchair ramp that is very much on the small side.
Remembering it is no longer 1992 wheelchairs have increased in size and mobility scooters are commonplace, there would be many wheelchairs that would not get up this small ramp at the ACC building in Whangarei. Mobility scooters would have no show.
I do have to point out that the mobility access Whangarei accessibility brochure features a mobility scooter not a wheelchair.
I do not dispute that their wheelchair ramp meets the building code written in 1992. I believe it is now 2017 high numbers of mobility scooter can be seen on Whangarei streets.
This is what I want ( Need ) the ACC Whangarei building wheelchair ramp needs to be altered to make the hallway up turn wider, this could be accomplish by removing 30cm from the centre handrail, the other option would be a scooter lift. ACC needs to be aware wheelchairs and mobility scooters have different dimensions and require different turning circles. I have to reiterate that a wheelchair lift is not the same as a mobility scooter lift.