Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson opens new streamlined user-centric Wheelchair Service
A new Wheelchair Service aims to provide a fully integrated service with all facilities under one roof for 14,400 London wheelchair users. The service is a result of two years of work by NHS North West London Commissioners to redesign care pathways and involve Service Users in the procurement process.
Martin Dixon, CEO of AJM Healthcare, states “we are often asked at tender stage how will we involve users in the service after it goes live? But the answer is – it’s too late! The users should have been involved in the design and specification before it came out to tender. Thankfully, here in NW London, the service users have been involved from day 1 of the service redesign. ”
Hosted by AJM Healthcare, the new wheelchair service provider, the opening ceremony was performed by Baroness Tanni Grey -Thompson, Paralympian gold medallist and advocate for change in wheelchair services.
Tanni spoke passionately about the delays and poor support experienced by wheelchair users and the impact on their lifestyle.
The new integrated service is based at Park Royal, however Martin Dixon is quick to add “we have satellite clinics in Barnet, Wembley and Ladbroke Grove, we still have to maintain a local presence as we don’t want users to travel too far. As an integrated service, the wheelchair assessment will be done at the same time as the specialist seating assessment, with Rehab Engineers and technicians on hand to support and most importantly, the right equipment available for immediate issue.
Fiona Butler, Chair West London CCG, added; “co-operation from GPs, Clinical Staff, and especially the user groups and their carers was critical to the decision-making. This commitment to keep service users at the centre of our work is not merely symbolic or box-ticking, it’s a core principle of the Charter. We co-produce services not just for you, but actually with you.”
Alex Cowan speaking from her past experiences of poor support, a wheelchair is liberating, and poor support can leave you confined to bed for days. This service will be different. And the story doesn’t end here, we will be involved in monitoring and feeding back to the Wheelchair Service and reporting to Commissioners.
The new wheelchair service has been selected by the NHS Quality Improvement Program as an Exemplar Site. It has been put forward for a Health Service Journal award.
Notes: The London Central, North West and Barnet Wheelchair Service is available to residents registered with a GP within the London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Barnet, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster.
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