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Personal Wheelchair Budgets

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As part of national NHS plans for the wider expansion of personal health budgets, NHS Mid Essex, Basildon and Brentwood, and Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have developed a local Personal Wheelchair Budget (PWB) agreement to replace the current wheelchair voucher system.

A PWB is a resource available to increase people’s choice and control of wheelchair provision, either within NHS commissioned services or outside of NHS commissioned services. Wheelchair users will be able to use this when their wheelchair is due to be changed, either every five years, or less if their medical need has changed.

PWBs can be managed in one of three ways:

Option One: Notional PWB. This is standard NHS provision which means the wheelchair user will know what the budget is but the NHS spends it for them. This enables the wheelchair user to have a basic wheelchair which will meet their identified needs.

Option Two: Notional PWB with Contribution. This allows the wheelchair user to use option one plus an extra contribution from the user to upgrade the chair or add extra features. The cost to the user is the difference between the NHS prescribed chair and the cost of the chair/parts they have chosen. The chair remains the property of the NHS, as in option one.

Option Three: Third Party PWB. This option is used when the wheelchair team agree this is the most suitable option available to the wheelchair user, it is clinically appropriate, and it meets their health needs. The user will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance for the duration of the wheelchair ownership. The amount of their budget is how much it would cost the NHS to provide a chair that meets their needs plus a contribution towards the repair and maintenance of the chosen chair. If the chair is more expensive than the amount of the PWB, the wheelchair user will have to meet the cost of this theirself. Other organisations or charities may be able to help the wheelchair user with this.

PWB payments will last for five years for adults and three years for children, other than in exceptional circumstances.

What are the benefits of a PWB?

The aim of personal wheelchair budgets is to provide:

  • A better framework to build in person-centred care and support planning.
  • More control for wheelchair users, their carers and families over the wheelchair provided.
  • A clearer explanation of the choices available, including funding and what that should include;
  • An opportunity to explore how the provision of wheelchairs can be joined with other care and support agencies, as part of a holistic, person-centred care and support plan. For example integrated personal budgets that combine health and social care funding.

Who might be able to have a PWB?

Anyone who is registered with a GP in the areas of Mid Essex, Basildon and Brentwood, or Thurrock CCGs and is eligible for an assessment for a wheelchair on a permanent loan (with the exception of individuals who have a rapidly changing or deteriorating condition), will be eligible for a PWB. All new referrals must be from a healthcare professional or re-referrals will be accepted from existing wheelchair users.

Find out more about PWBs here.

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