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NHS England announced Personal Wheelchair Budgets

NHS England announced last month that with effect from 2nd December 2019, all those eligible for an NHS wheelchair will have a legal right to request a Personal Wheelchair Budget and have more control over decisions made about their care and the choice of wheelchair, giving them more independence. This scheme will be available to those who are new to registering with the service, or those whose clinical needs are due to be reviewed.

From the beginning of December, Personal Wheelchair Budgets was implemented nationally by NHS England providing the opportunity for Surrey Wheelchair Services to adopt a holistic approach to the needs of disabled people, and give wheelchair users the control they need.

A Personal Wheelchair Budget can be spent on a specially-adapted wheelchair to meet an individual’s care needs. Surrey Clinical Commissioning Groups, in conjunction with NHS England, have been working closely with the current Wheelchair Service providers to develop a Personal Wheelchair Budget offer to replace the Voucher Scheme.

Personal Wheelchair Budgets are available to those service clients who meet the criteria to provide a greater choice of wheelchairs.

Under the new system wheelchair users will have three options:

1. Notional Personal Wheelchair Budget (standard NHS provision)
This means the provision of a wheelchair which will meet an individual’s identified needs.

2. Notional Personal Wheelchair Budget with contribution
This option allows an individual or another agency (such as a voluntary or charitable organisation) to contribute their personal budget towards an NHS wheelchair or add additional features.

3. Third Party Personal Wheelchair Budget
This option allows an individual to use their personal budget as a contribution to buying a wheelchair from an independent retailer outside of the NHS. This is only available if the wheelchair is deemed clinically appropriate following a discussion with a Wheelchair Therapist.

This will not change the way clients are dealt with by the Wheelchair Services, and they will continue to be referred to the service in the usual way but for those who meet the eligibility criteria it will provide a greater choice of wheelchairs and associated accessories.

Further information on personal wheelchair budgets is available on the NHS England website.