HAMPSHIRE has one of the worst records in England for wheelchair waiting times, new figures show.

Clinical Commissioning Groups in England are required to deliver wheelchairs to patients within 18 weeks of a referral, with NHS guidance stressing the "paramount importance" of the timescale from referral to delivery.

But 200 people were forced to wait longer than the 18-week window in the NHS West Hampshire CCG area, which includes Winchester, between April and June this year.

In total, 291 had a wheelchair or other equipment prescribed and delivered to them in that time, meaning the CCG area had a success rate of just 31 per cent making it one of the worst performances for any CCG in England.

Charities have warned that substantial gaps in provision across England are leaving many disabled people without the wheelchairs they need, affecting their independence and leaving them in pain or discomfort.

Rob Burley, from charity Muscular Dystrophy UK, said substantial gaps in services across the country were leaving disabled people without the basic equipment they need.

He said: "Wheelchairs are not a luxury, and having access to suitable equipment is vital.

"Too often, we hear stories from people who cannot leave their homes or are forced to fund expensive wheelchairs themselves.

"We must see an improvement in services, both nationally and locally.”