Plans for Personal Wheelchair Budgets

NHS England has set out plans for a scheme to replace the current wheelchair voucher scheme with Personal Health Budgets as part of efforts to improve services for over 1.2 million people that currently use wheelchairs.

The Personal Wheelchair Budgets is a new approach to wheelchair commissioning, replacing the current voucher scheme. Wheelchair users have found a number of challenges with the existing scheme, now 20 years old, including a lack of information and guidance around maintenance, repair and replacement as well as a limited number of providers where a voucher can be redeemed.

The new personal health budget scheme will offer more choice for users regarding where wheelchairs can be bought as well as a detailed care plan that will help users make informed decision about their wheelchair. The care plans will also go beyond purchasing the chair to also include guidance on future maintenance, repair and replacement needs.

The new approach will also help NHS England collect meaningful data on wheelchair provision that will further help improve services and address variations in provision across the country.

There are currently around 7,500 people with a Personal Health Budget and NHS England says that the announcement is a big step towards trying to achieving the goal of up to 100,000 people benefiting from the greater control by 2020/21.