Community wheelchair services - our response to service user feedback

Published on 20 Mar, 2017

The following stakeholder comments relate to specifically to community wheelchair services. Also provided are the details of how we have worked to address this service user feedback throughout the procurement exercise which resulted in a change in service provider from 1 December 2016.

Service users told us

We did

Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients stressed the importance of accessible, local, wheelchair clinic locations.

The new community wheelchair service, has maintained four local wheelchair centres across North Yorkshire. All clinic centres are wheelchair friendly now.

Community Wheelchairs Only: Health professionals stressed the need for an on-line, fit for purpose referral form.

Commissioners have worked with the new wheelchair provider to produce an electronic referral form that can be securely emailed to the provider.

Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients/carers raised concerns regarding the long wait for repairs for wheelchairs and that independence can be severely impacted, particularly when a powered chair requires repair.

Commissioners worked with national providers to discuss and review suitable and realistic repair standards. These were incorporated within the new wheelchair service specification. In the event that a powered wheelchair cannot be repaired promptly due to parts having to be ordered, a manual chair will be provided to the patient. Occurrences like this should be minimal as the new provider has multiple supplier routes for sourcing wheelchair spare parts.


Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients asked whether we can provide road side recovery services for wheelchair users.


There is no national standard for this type of service due to the difficult logistics of being able to provide this service – a recovery service is not commissioned by the NHS elsewhere in the UK.

The concept was tested fully with providers at our market engagement day in January 2016. There are private insurance policies that patients can take out for provision of roadside recovery. The new wheelchair service has committed to sharing this detail with patients.


Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients/carers stressed the need for more choice of specialist seating provision within suitable waiting times.


The new wheelchairs provider, offers an in house specialist seating clinic, but also offers the flexibility to involve other specialist seating providers as required.

The in house service provided by the services own clinicians supports delivery of waiting times for patients requiring specialist seating within 18 weeks.

Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients/carers and charities highlighted the need for improved communication for access to short-term hire wheelchairs.

The new wheelchair service has contacts for short term loan agencies that are available in the local area.

Commissioners have committed to sharing these details on a larger scale so that everyone is aware of short-term service provision.

Short-term loans are available for exceptional circumstances by the new wheelchair service i.e. to aid discharge or to help someone at the end stages of life.

Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients and referrers highlighted that there is confusion with regards to the use of the ‘Voucher Scheme’.

Our new wheelchair provider is working to produce clear and standardised information regarding the voucher scheme. This information shall be shared with wheelchair users at assessment appointments.

Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients and carers highlighted that home assessment visits need to be available.

The new wheelchair service is commissioned to provide home visit appointments if essential.

Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients highlighted the need for regular follow-up appointments.

The new wheelchair service is commissioned to offer regular patient follow-up at least annually.

Community Wheelchairs Only: Patients requested that the application of Personal Health Budgets is considered.

The application of Personal Health Budgets for wheelchair services is a national directive from NHS England. York and North Yorkshire Commissioners are awaiting guidance from NHS England and have been identified as a national pilot site to test the application of Personal Health Budgets when further details are released.