Mobility solutions are supplied by the NHS. This includes crutches, walking sticks, rollators, kaye walkers and wheelchairs.
If you have temporary mobility issues such as breaking a leg or following surgery you may be issued with mobility equipment to help you get around. These will need to be returned when your condition improves.
If you need a wheelchair you can apply for a temporary loan from your local wheelchair services.
Wheelchairs and other mobility aids may also be borrowed short term from the Red Cross for a small donation.
For those with long term or lifelong condition mobility equipment may be supplied on permanent loan.
Wheelchairs and specialist buggies are the responsibility of your local Wheelchair Services. Many have long waiting times for assessment.
Who to contact for an assessment:
Your GP, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and for children their Paediatrician can all refer to wheelchair services.
Wheelchair services will assess your needs and decide if you qualify for free equipment. Each service will have their own eligibility criteria.
The choice will be limited as they usually only offer standard models.
Any equipment issued remains the property of Wheelchair Services and they will undertake any repairs and servicing. They will also reassess your needs every 3 years for children and every 5 years for adults.
Before buying your own wheelchair do your research on the various options available as different types suit different situations.
If you qualify for a NHS wheelchair you may be eligible for a wheelchair voucher to help pay for your purchase. The voucher is usually worth the cost of a basic wheelchair and may be used towards a higher specification wheelchair.
If you accept a voucher you will not be eligible for another wheelchair/voucher from wheelchair services for five years. You will also be responsible for the cost of servicing and repairs.
Disabled children and adults with a lifelong condition may be able to apply to charities and trusts for a grant towards the cost of a new wheelchair.
Grants for Wheelchairs – Step One and Step Two - Information on how to obtain a wheelchair and charities that provide grants.
Rica (Research Institute for Consumer Affairs) – consumer research for older and disabled people