Shoppers Home Healthcare
Those of you who have followed this blog already know of the aggravation and frustration I've experienced in my attempts to obtain wheelchair repairs from Shoppers Home Healthcare. If not, check out the post entitled 'If You Want Service Like This, May I recommend...'
A recent article by reporter Jonathan Sher of the London Free Press (Ontario Canada) outlines the problems with Shoppers Home Healthcare in that city as well. Jonathan reports that Shoppers intends to divest itself of the 'health care' aspect of its operation which includes wheelchair sales and service.
Recently, Loblaws, a major supermarket food chain, bought Shoppers Drug Mart under which Shoppers Home Healthcare operated. I believe that Loblaws simply wanted Shoppers for their 'pharmaceutical' sales and nothing more. One stop shopping - is seems as if every food supermarket has a pharmacy these days.
According to Jonathan Sher's article, Shoppers Home Healthcare was given a monopoly by the Ontario Government to sell and service wheelchairs. It seems as if you were expecting government assistance in funding these expensive power wheelchairs, you had to deal with Shoppers. Why a monopoly? Competition not only drives excellence but lowers costs.
It appears as if Motion Specialties will be acquiring some of the business that Shoppers is divesting itself of. Whether they will have another monopoly or whether there may now be some competition is yet to be seen.
In my frustration with Shoppers Home Healthcare, I switch to Motion Specialties as my service provider. To date, they have offered excellent, compassionate and timely service. My fear is that there will be an adjustment period after acquiring Shoppers clients and that service may falter as a result. My hope that any growing pains would be temporary as the business expands.
The disabled may be some of the most vulnerable people in society. Service providers must offer timely and compassionate service at an honest price. This is not where you should be making exorbitant profits either from the client or the government. If unable, you shouldn't be in the business. And be thankful that you are not held hostage by a wheelchair.
Those familiar with my blog posts know of the multitude of problems I've experienced with my current Permobil power wheelchair. I have to wonder about the quality of materials and workmanship that go into these essential medical aids.
- Why do wheelchair manufacturers only give a year's warranty on their product. Do they have so little confidence in what they produce?
- Should not the wheelchairs components be manufactured from military or medical grade materials? At least the electronics? I have had to replace virtually every component on my current chair and it is only three years old. This chair is not abused and is used almost exclusively indoors. I know as a fact, certain components on my current chair are manufactured in China, and most likely by the lowest bidder.
- Replacement parts are so expensive that many are not kept in stock and must be ordered internationally resulting in extensive down-time for the wheelchair client.
- As a health care worker in a hospital setting, I encountered and had conversations with numerous wheelchair bound people. Many brought up the issue of pricing and wondered why identical wheelchairs in the United States were three to four times cheaper than here in Canada?
On one particular breakdown, I called their service department and left 21 messages over several days, requesting a service call and never got the courtesy of a call-back. Shoppers.....they just don't care, and I for one am glad they will be out of the wheelchair business. They should never have been in it in the first place!
New March 20th, 2016
Read the comment from a visitor to my blog for additional commentary and insight on the 'Shoppers' shameful mismanagement of their wheelchair obligations. (click on comments immediately under this post)
Just as an aside, I received a great deal of Shoppers 'Optimum' points when I purchased this sad excuse for a wheelchair. I thought that I was continuing to accumulate points whenever I was "forced" to shop at Shoppers. The other day my wife had the cashier check to see what our total was. Interestingly it was a big ZERO. I thought that points no longer expired....silly me...
A London Free Press newspaper article of February 24th, 2016 has Shoppers Drug Mart stating that they are interested in dispensing Medical Marijuana once the government legalizes the medicine general accessibility rules and provides dispensing guidelines. If Shoppers Drug Mart is as incompetent in dispensing Medical Marijuana as its Shoppers Home Healthcare division was in servicing wheelchairs, then I suspect patients/clients will be severely disappointed!
New April 8th, 2016