How we are supporting CCGs

Wheelchair services are commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). NHS England aims to support CCGs in improving wheelchair services through four specific pieces of work. These are:

Each of these is described in more detail below.

Establishing a national dataset

In 2015/16, NHS England introduced a national wheelchair dataset. This was in order to establish the first centralised dataset about expenditure on, access to, volume, or patient experience of wheelchair services, and was therefore designed to improve transparency and benchmarking. This was essential to improving the commissioning of wheelchair services, and similarly to improving outcomes for wheelchair users.

The data collection questions were developed through significant discussion and feedback from wheelchair service providers, wheelchair users, the National Wheelchair Managers Forum, CCGs, and other key stakeholders.

Data has been collected quarterly from CCGs since July 2015 and supports the drive for improvements in wheelchair services. From Quarter 1 of 2019/20 the data will be published on the National Wheelchair Data Collection web page.

Developing a national tariff

Following a pilot in 2015/16, NHS England has made available an initial set of currencies for local health economies to use in relation to wheelchairs.

The currencies represent the conclusion of the latest phase of NHS England’s work to develop a national wheelchair tariff, which we are aiming to have in place in time for the beginning of the 2019/20 financial year.

Once finalised, the tariff is intended to allow commissioners the flexibility to move away from simple, block contracts. It will support more advanced commissioning by increasing transparency, driving service improvement, increasing efficiency and better aligning resources to service user needs.

Together with NHS Improvement, NHS England is currently in the process of reviewing relevant expenditure information from the national wheelchair dataset, and using this to inform closer consideration of a set of monetary values for the established currencies. NHS England intends to hold a series of stakeholder consultation events before any proposals for these values are finalised..

Supporting commissioners

NHS England is working together with a range of people and organisations to improve wheelchair services, and to ensure that all wheelchair users receive the best possible support for their needs.

Following two wheelchair summits in 2014, NHS England committed to providing CCGs with more help in commissioning more effective, higher-quality wheelchair services, and has been providing the following support:

NHS Planning Guidance now includes wheelchairs as an area for CCGs to make improvement plans, specifically with regard to how they will achieve 92% in relation to the 18 week Referral to Treatment standard waiting time. NHS England is holding CCGs to account for performance against this target through the CCG assurance programme.

CCG wheelchair champions network

A network of CCG leaders who are acting as champions for the work programme – creating momentum for change, sharing good practice and driving learning and improvement.

Model service specification

In collaboration with stakeholders, we have developed a model service specification which sets out our ambition for excellent wheelchair services and we encourage CCGs to use this as a tool to enable them to review and improve their wheelchair services to support individuals, their families and carers to achieve improved quality of life and independence through timely provision of the right wheelchair.

A case for change

A high level document which will set out the case for change – clinically, financially and socially – of improving wheelchair services in England. It will help commissioners present the business case for investing in wheelchair services to their local decision making bodies.