UPDATED: ‘Failed and neglected’ – wheelchair user criticises NHS Shetland physio department

A wheelchair user has said NHS Shetland’s physiotherapy department has “failed and neglected” him since a life-altering car crash in 2020.

Scott Nicolson said the department was “refusing point blank to have anything to do with me” – which he said had left himself and his parents feeling “let down, upset and downright disappointed”.

He is now calling for others who have had similar experiences of the service to share them with his family, so that MSP Beatrice Wishart can take a complaint directly to Scottish health minister Humza Yousaf.

Mr Nicolson, from Lerwick, was left paralysed following a crash in October 2020, and initially treated at Glasgow’s national spinal unit.

He returned to Shetland in May last year, but said his family were left frustrated after NHS Shetland said unless his doctors in Glasgow specifically asked for him to get physiotherapy then they were not going to provide any assistance or visits.

Scott Nicolson before his life-changing crash in 2020.

Mr Nicolson said a local physio offered her services free of charge last November, briefly improving his movement.

But he said his social worker was “saddened” to hear he had “regressed in what little movement I had” because of the “inaction” of the local physio department.

“I can only imagine how much more movement I may have had now if I had received this level of physio input from the moment I returned home in May,” he said.

His physio then moved south, he said, but pledged to write to Glasgow’s spinal unit asking them to intervene after witnessing how Mr Nicolson had been “failed and neglected by the physio department” in Shetland.

Doctors at the spinal unit then wrote to the Gilbert Bain Hospital asking them to provide Nicolson with physiotherapy.

But Mr Nicolson said despite “repeated promises” they would get involved if Glasgow asked them to, NHS Shetland is now “refusing point blank to have anything to do with me”, he said.

“This has left not only myself but also my parents feeling let down, upset and downright disappointed by a publicly provided service that prides itself on helping the island community can neglect and ignore myself and my family the way they have.

“I have seen my parents come into my room exhausted and exasperated with the amount of meetings and phone calls they have had to do, just to try and get me basic care.”

Mr Nicolson is now asking anyone with any similarly negative experiences of the NHS Shetland physio department to share them with his parents at gandl.nicolson@tiscali.co.uk , so they can be handed over to the isles MSP.

He added: “If it leads to at least one person getting the care and help they deserve and not have to go through the same shit as me and my family then it will have been worthwhile”.

NHS Shetland said it was “unable to provide comment on individual cases”.

“However the board is aware of the matter and discussions remain ongoing.”


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