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  • Many people who need permanent use of a wheelchair will be eligible for equipment from the NHS. A list of NHS wheelchair services is available online.  This list is frequently changing however, therefore your GP will be able to point you in the direction of your local wheelchair service.  The criteria for receiving NHS equipment varies from service to service.  In general, full time, permanent wheelchair users will always be eligible.  Most NHS wheelchair services require a referral from a health professional (GP, consultant, nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist etc).  They will assess what equipment is needed and prescribe accordingly from a range of equipment available to them. 
  • NHS wheelchair service staff are often made up of a mix of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, rehab engineers and clinical scientists. There will also be support staff in administration and clinical roles.



  • Everyone has the option of purchasing their own equipment. Some retailers are members of the British Healthcare Trades Association, however membership is not mandatory.  Retailers will decide with you which is the best equipment for you to purchase, based on your wheelchair needs, and your budget.  Some will employ occupational therapists or physiotherapists to provide a more clinical approach.  Some retailers will have a limited range of wheelchairs, focusing more on other equipment such as beds or riser-recliners.  Speak to them to determine if they can support your wheelchair needs.
  • Having a clinical assessment prior to purchasing a wheelchair can also be useful. This ensures all needs, future and present, of the user are taken into account prior to purchasing equipment.  A clinical assessment will involve evaluation of posture, pressure relief, technical assessment of any current equipment and the environment any equipment will be used in.  The clinician, normally and occupational therapist or physiotherapist will make recommendations for adjustment or additions to the existing wheelchair or will work with the user to determine the best wheelchair for them to purchase.



  • Some retailers will offer finance, enabling the wheelchair to be paid in monthly instalments over a period of time.



  • Charity funding can be available to some wheelchair users. Many charities will have specific requirements or conditions that need to be met, before they support the purchase of a wheelchair.  Most will only support the purchase of equipment that cannot be funded through a NHS wheelchair service.



  • The Motability scheme enables specific disability benefits to fund the lease of a powerchair. Motability has agreements with specific wheelchair retailers to provide the equipment.  The leases are typically 3 years and include repairs and maintenance. 


Access to Work

  • The employer of people with a disability is legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments to ensure you they not substantially disadvantaged when doing their job. If the help you need they work is not covered by their employer making reasonable adjustments, they may be able to get help from Access to Work.
  • They need to have a paid job or be about to start or return to one.
  • An Access to Work grant can pay for special equipment, adaptations or services to help do things like answer the phone, go to meetings and getting to and from work.
  • They may not get a grant if they already get certain benefits



Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors
NHS Wales
Posture & Mobility Group
Call us today on 02921 660346