A personal wheelchair budget is a resource available to support people’s choice of wheelchair, either within NHS commissioned services or outside NHS commissioned services. Personal wheelchair budgets enable postural and mobility needs to be included in wider care planning and can support people to access a wider choice of wheelchair.
With a personal wheelchair budget, wheelchair users should expect to have:
- a personalised assessment where they are supported to identify the health and wellbeing outcomes they wish to achieve
- a care plan which captures the health and wellbeing outcomes identified, which may be part of any wider care plans the person requires for their care, for example an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
- care that is better integrated, meaning that different agencies work together to support their postural and mobility needs and achieve their health and wellbeing outcomes
- information provided upfront about the amount of money available in their personal wheelchair budget and the options available to them locally to use it
- information about the repair and maintenance of wheelchairs, if the option to purchase a wheelchair outside of the NHS commissioned service is taken.
Since April 2017, all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England have been expected to start developing plans to offer personal wheelchair budgets, to replace the wheelchair voucher system.
Since 2 December 2019, people who access wheelchair services, whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care needs, now have a legal right to a personal wheelchair budget.
The legal right covers people who are referred and meet the eligibility criteria of their local wheelchair service, and people already registered with the wheelchair service, when they require a new wheelchair either through a change in clinical needs or in the condition of the current chair.
Further guidance is available for health and social care professionals on implementing the legal rights to personal health budgets, including personal wheelchair budgets.
More detailed information about personal wheelchair budgets is available in the frequently asked questions section.
Personal wheelchair budgets in action
Enabling independent living at Uni for Dylan
Dylan’s personal wheelchair budget has allowed him to live independently for the first time and attend university, as well as providing efficiencies to the wider system.
Helping Martin be more active and independent
Martin was unhappy with his wheelchair, which caused him discomfort and was not suitable for his outdoor pursuits. He worked with commissioners on a personal care and support plan, then applied for a personal wheelchair budget to enable him to combine funding to cover the cost of adaptions that met his health and care needs. The new wheelchair has exceeded his expectations, enabling him to ‘do more, independently’. Read more about Martin’s story.
Setting the wheels in motion – personal wheelchair budgets in Leeds
Leeds CCG and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust have produced a video describing how personal wheelchair budgets are helping people in Leeds maintain their independence by enabling them to choose a wheelchair that fits their lifestyle. Watch the video here.
Increasing choice and control for wheelchair users in Gloucestershire
Staff and patients from Gloucestershire, one of the first areas to make personal wheelchair budgets available, have put together this film about the difference being made to people and services locally.
- Sally Smith, Commissioner at East Riding CCG, shares their journey towards offering personal wheelchair budgets.
- Ruth Owen of Whizz-Kidz explains how the right to a personal wheelchair budget brings choice and independence to wheelchair users.
- Patience Young from Hull CCG explains more about how she helped enable this budget together for Dylan.
Implementing personal wheelchair budgets and need more information?
NHS England is committed to helping all CCGs implement the right to a personal wheelchair budget. If you work within the NHS, a local authority or a voluntary sector partner, you can join the Personalised Care Collaborative Network to access a range of resources, share learning and discuss issues with colleagues across the country. To discuss access, email firstname.lastname@example.org