No service in sight

Mobility company switches direction on emergency service

Motion Specialties, a retail provider of mobility products and services in Vancouver, recently indicated a switch in its stance on providing emergency service to its clients who use power wheelchairs and other related equipment.

Although Motion Specialties offered no emergency or after-hours service for its mobility clients when called in January, owner John Armstrong phoned back two weeks later to say they had reconsidered and were now going to offer the service. They would be putting it in place immediately and evaluating the need on a month-to-month basis.

Previously, when clients phoned in on the store number, they would be asked either to call back or leave a message for someone to call them back the next business day. With the new system, instead of being deferred to the next day, clients will be given an option to leave a message for a pager if the situation constitutes an emergency. The technician carrying the pager then responds to the call and decides with the client whether the situation actually warrants emergency service or whether the client can wait.

"We've decided we are going to offer that service," Armstrong said. "We want to be doing the right thing for our customers, and what we want to do is make sure we're offering the service they're looking for.

"It's going to cost us some dollars, but we'll do it and see what the reaction is in the community and whether it's worthwhile to have."

Regarding getting authorization from the Ministry of Human Resources on evenings and weekends to perform service for its clients, Armstrong said, "If they're a ministry client, and they're a regular client of ours, there's no problem, we just have to service them. So whether we get paid or not, we just have to take that risk."

Armstrong said not every situation is actually an "emergency." Often clients can wait and are satisfied with service the next day, he said. In deciding whether to make a trip, the technician would first look at the situation with the client on the phone.

Defining what constitutes an emergency is difficult, explained Armstrong. So how would they know whether to go out or not? "I don't know how to define that at the moment. It's something to be determined over the next month or so."

"Our point all along is that it's great to have an emergency service 24-hours-a-day for our clients. Is it necessary, given the expense? We just have to make that determination over the next month or two or three, as we progress."

Paul Gowan


Subscribe /  Unsubscribe