NHS take disabled lad's frame because he was moving home

The Oxford Times: Oliver McConnell with mum Danielle and brother Josh, left. He has now been given a replacement walking frame Buy this photo Oliver McConnell with mum Danielle and brother Josh, left. He has now been given a replacement walking frame

A HEALTH trust took a disabled four-year-old boy’s walking frame away from him because he was moving out of Oxfordshire.

A member of staff from Oxford Health turned up at Oliver McConnell’s home in Ambrosden and took back the walking frame the NHS trust had supplied him, because his family is moving to County Durham.

It would have meant the four-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer, who is learning to walk after a pioneering operation in America, would have had no way to move around until he could see a specialist in Durham.

However, after being contacted by the Oxford Mail, Oxford Health said there had been an error and returned a frame.

Oliver’s shocked mum Danielle said: “He had just started getting on his feet and was really confident and the NHS just came and took his walking frame because we’re moving.

“It (the frame) was something so minor – how many crutches go missing? But for days I was thinking how is he going to get about or get to school.”

A spokesman for Oxford Health said: “This should not have happened and we sincerely apologise to this family.

“A suitable frame has been delivered and they will be able to retain the use of it as long as they need it.

“We will issue fresh guidance to staff to try to prevent this happening again.

“Staff have contacted the family to apologise in person and we wish them well with their move.”

Oliver’s treatment in America – which was paid for after a community fundraising campaign in the Bicester area – involved removing a vertebrae and damaged nerves from the bottom of Oliver’s spine.

Since his operation he has gone from strength to strength and the frame helps him walk around.

His mother had feared Oliver’s progress and confidence would have been knocked if he did not have a frame.

So concerned were the family that Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer colleagues of her soldier husband Barry, a Staff Sergeant at Bicester Garrison, were planning to make Oliver a temporary frame.

Oliver still has fortnightly physiotherapy and uses the frame to help him walk.

OLIVER'S APPEAL

The family launched an appeal, Help Oliver Walk, in April 2012, to raise money for the life-changing operation.
Friends organised events including auctions, cake sales, sponsored runs and walks and a skydive. Comrades of Staff Sergeant McConnell at Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan, and at Bicester Garrison, ran, rowed or cycled the equivalent 7,322km between the two places.

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