In May 2016, Simon Stevens announced that NHS England would be developing a personal health budgets model for the provision of wheelchairs. Since April 2017, all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England have been expected to start developing local personal wheelchair budget offers to replace the current wheelchair voucher system.
The Department of Health and Social Care announced in February 2019 that the legal right to a personal health budget is being extended to people who access wheelchair services, whose posture and mobility needs impact their wider health and social care needs. This legal right is expected to come into force by the end of 2019.
More detailed information about personal wheelchair budgets is available in the frequently asked questions section.
What are personal wheelchair budgets?
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 aim to increase choice and control for people who access wheelchair services through:
- Providing holistic assessments that take into account people’s wider needs and how good wheelchair provision can increase independence and improve people’s health and wellbeing outcomes
- Supporting people to identify their own health and wellbeing goals
- Better integration of services around individuals by bringing together care and support agencies
- Increasing the availability of information about the choices available to people locally.
Intended benefits of personal wheelchair budgets
Personal wheelchair budgets aim to help people to access a wheelchair that meets their health and wellbeing needs and goals, as well as any specific wheelchair requirements that they have.
Replacing the current wheelchair voucher scheme with personal wheelchair budgets is intended to provide:
- A more robust framework for personalised care and support planning
- More control to people, their carers and families over the wheelchair provided
- Greater clarity for wheelchair users about 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, as part of a personalised care and support plan and integrated personal budgets that combine health and social care funding
Video: 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.
Case study: 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>>
Video: 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.
- 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.
- Project lead Kate Buffery has written a blog about the changes, ‘Shifting control in wheelchair services’.
Implementing personal wheelchair budgets and need more information?
NHS England is committed to helping all CCGs prepare for and implement the right to a personal wheelchair budget, and to developing a local offer to meet local needs.
If you work within the NHS, a local authority or a voluntary sector partner, you can sign up to the Personalised Care Collaborative Network to access a range of resources, share learning and discuss issues with colleagues across the country.
For more information or access to the new network, please contact the national Personal Health Budgets team by email@example.com.