Delivering Choice and Control
Wheelchair Vouchers are an alternative to receiving an NHS wheelchair, so that you may use the voucher to choose or upgrade to a different wheelchair, perhaps one that meets your wider needs of a colour, style or practicality.
Personal Health Budgets are being rolled out across the NHS to anyone receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare. They offer a slightly more flexible way to purchase your healthcare and equipment.
In both cases, you will need to be referred to your local wheelchair service by your GP or other Health Professional.
The Wheelchair Service will check your eligibility for a NHS Wheelchair, and you be given an appointment for a
wheelchair assessment by a qualified Wheelchair Therapist, Physiotherapist or Rehabilitation Engineer.
The Wheelchair Therapist will prescribe a wheelchair for you, and at this point they will ask you if you wish to have a voucher to the same value, or purchase one with your Personal Health Budget instead. It should be made clear at this point that you cannot use the voucher to purchase a wheelchair that does not meet the clinical needs of your prescription, or NHS standards.
There are two options for acquiring a wheelchair:
The Partnership option provides a voucher for the cost of a basic wheelchair, but allows you to choose a chair from a slightly wider range, approved by the NHS. You pay the difference in the cost, to an agreed supplier, but the chair remains the property of NHS wheelchair services. This means that they are responsible for maintenance and repairs.
The Independent option gives you a voucher for the cost of the chair the NHS would supply you with, together with some extra money to cover the maintenance and repairs they calculate will be needed in its lifetime – generally five years.
If you choose the independent route, the chair that you buy (from an agreed supplier) can be of any design, brand or value, as long as it meets your needs. It is your property, and you are responsible for the costs of insurance, maintenance and repair, whether this amounts to more or less than was calculated in the voucher.
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