How we are supporting integrated care boards

Wheelchair services are commissioned by integrated care boards (ICBs). NHS England aims to support ICBs in improving wheelchair services through three specific pieces of work.

Each of these is described in more detail below.

Establishing a national dataset

In 2015/16, NHS England introduced the first centralised national wheelchair dataset about expenditure on, access to, volume, patient experience of wheelchair services. It was 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, ICBs, and other key stakeholders.

Data has been collected quarterly from ICBs (formerly clinical commissioning groups) since July 2015 and supports the drive for improvements in wheelchair services. From Quarter 1 of 2019/20 the data is published on the National Wheelchair Data Collection web page and the guidance to aid ICBs to collect data is available on the Wheelchair services: National Wheelchair Data Collection Guidance.

Developing a national tariff

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

We reviewed the currencies in 2019/20 and made several changes and additions to ensure the currency model covered all wheelchair services, including specialised wheelchair provision. These currencies will initially be published on a non-mandatory basis.

The currency model offers a structured way for providers, commissioners and systems to understand the complexity of a patient population and support commissioning conversations using the currencies as an evidence base. The model also supports benchmarking across localities and on a national basis.

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 ICBs 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.

Previous data from collections prior to 2019/20