The experiences of members of The British Polio Fellowship show accessibility is not what it could be. Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) affects the ability of 120,000 in the UK to get around now, yet accessibility will be a problem for millions in years to come. By 2040, one in seven will be over 75 and likely living with medical conditions that make getting about difficult. If nothing is done now, people in 20 years will be asking why more wasn’t done in advance to deliver Olympic standard accessibility for all.

National Chairman of The British Polio Fellowship, David Mitchell says, “Rather like the BBC’s Frank Gardner, those of us with disabilities are sick of complaining about accessibility. Sadly, Mr Gardner’s experience of being left 100 minutes on a plane due to a lost wheelchair is not unusual, and one many members of The British Polio Fellowship can identify with. Only when someone with Mr Gardner’s profile gets this treatment does this hit the headlines, yet I have lost count of times our charity has spoken out.

“It is time to be more Frank about this issue. It is surely possible to come up with a better system of keeping a wheelchair with its owner during flight, rather than treating our mobility and freedom as a piece of baggage (as we are, sometimes). Members of The British Polio Fellowship with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) can often move from a wheelchair for the duration of a flight, but not all living with disability are so lucky. For them, no chair means no travel.

“By 2040, one in seven of us will be over 75 and almost certainly living with a disability or using a wheelchair. A way must be found to offer a better service to wheelchair users now, or face a crisis in years to come.”

Find out about The British Polio Fellowship here: or call
0800 043 1935.

About The British Polio Fellowship

The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). It provides information, advocacy, welfare and support to enable its members to live full independent and integrated lives and works to develop worldwide alliances with other Polio and Post Polio groups for the mutual benefit of its members. Further information about the British Polio Fellowship and details on how to make a donation can be found at or by calling 0800 043 1935.

About Post Polio Syndrome (PPS)

Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a neurological condition which can occur in up to 80% of those who have had Polio. It is estimated that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with PPS today. After an interval of several years of stability, individuals can develop increasing weakness, fatigue and pain in previously affected or unaffected muscles, a general reduction in stamina, breathing, sleeping and/or swallowing problems and cold intolerance. PPS usually begins very slowly, although it can appear suddenly and often following triggers such as falls, surgery or immobility. There is no specific cure for PPS, but properly managed it may stabilise or only progress slowly and lessen the cost on the NHS whilst increasing the quality of life of those affected. Much can be done to retain independence, including self-management strategies such as pacing and energy management, appropriate use of adaptive equipment, looking after your general health, and social and emotional support.