Accessing your Personal Wheelchair Budgets

Accessing your Personal Wheelchair Budgets

A Personal Wheelchair Budget, or PWB, is available to support wider wheelchair choice within NHS commissioned services. In December 2019, the offer of a Personal Wheelchair Budget became a “right to have”.

What does this mean?

If you meet the Wheelchair Service eligibility criteria, and you qualify for a new or replacement wheelchair, you are eligible to be considered for a PWB. The PWB scheme was introduced to broaden the scope of the mobility equipment that can be provided by taking advantage of other funding sources as well as Wheelchair Service funding. This could be via other statutory agencies or charitable organisations, or you may wish to make a financial contribution yourself. This is not to reduce what is on offer but to consider how your wider care needs could be met with a joined-up approach and by pooling resources. The aim of this booklet is to provide information about the options available. If you have any questions that have not been answered here, please contact the Wheelchair Service with your query. Remember that a referral to the Wheelchair Service may not always result in provision of a wheelchair but the Wheelchair Service can suggest other agencies or support networks that might be able to assist instead.


Who can apply for a PWB?

Any individual who meets the eligibility criteria for provision of an NHS wheelchair and who qualifies for a new or replacement chair may apply for a PWB. A PWB may not always be the right choice for you. Your individual needs will be discussed with you at your assessment.

What if I already have an NHS wheelchair on loan?

If you have been using an NHS wheelchair and your clinical needs have changed, you can request a re-assessment and a PWB may be considered if changes to your current wheelchair seating are not appropriate.

What are the eligibility criteria for provision of an NHS wheelchair?

In order to be eligible for an NHS wheelchair you must have a permanent impairment or medical condition that seriously affects your ability to walk, lasting more than 6 months. The full service criteria can be found on the Wheelchair service website. I am acting on behalf of a relative who is unable to make an informed choice.

Would they be eligible for a PWB?

Yes, as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria. If you are acting on someone’s behalf, you will be included in the process.

What can a PWB be used for?

The PWB can only be used towards the purchase of a wheelchair (including accessories) that meets your clinical needs. It cannot be exchanged for money.

Can a PWB be used for either a manual or a powered wheelchair?

There are additional eligibility criteria for powered chair provision. Unless you meet these additional criteria you will be assessed for a manual wheelchair and the PWB will be based on the manual chair that would meet your mobility needs

Considering your needs

Do I have to be assessed by the Wheelchair Service?

Yes. The only exception is if you have been assessed by one of our approved external prescribers, for example if you have been seen by an Occupational Therapist (OT) while you were a hospital inpatient. In this case, we will issue the NHS chair prescribed by the hospital OT directly to you. At all other times, you will be assessed by one of the Wheelchair Service clinicians: an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist, a Therapy Assistant, a Rehabilitation Engineer, or a Rehabilitation Engineering Technician. All are trained to be able to assess your needs. We may ask your permission to contact other healthcare professionals about ways of meeting your needs.

What information should I bring to my assessment appointment?

Please bring any information that may be relevant, including details of any other equipment you use in daily life and of recent/planned medical interventions. If you have recently been seen by other healthcare professionals, it is helpful to bring their contact details. If you use a hoist to transfer, please bring your sling with you to your appointment. Before your assessment in the Wheelchair Service clinic, you will be sent a questionnaire, known as the WATCh-Ad Outcome tool, to complete. The questionnaire asks you to consider 16 areas of your life where your wheelchair might be of help. Of these, you select the 5 most important to you and score your satisfaction with each. Whichever areas you choose, you will be asked the same questions again after you have been provided with your wheelchair. There are no right or wrong answers. Your answers will form the basis of a discussion with your Wheelchair Service clinician about your health and wellbeing outcomes, not all of which may be met by an NHS wheelchair, and this is where your PWB options might help.

What happens during my clinic appointment?

You will be asked more questions about your medical condition and how this affects your mobility and posture. Measurements will be taken and you will have a physical examination to establish any postural support you may require Your clinician will work with you on a personalised care and support plan that summarises your needs and identifies what type of wheelchair and which features you need to meet your mobility needs. With this detailed specification, the most suitable model from the Wheelchair Service range can be selected and this is your free NHS provision. At this stage your PWB options will be discussed fully and you may be provided with information about other services that could be helpful in supporting your wider needs

Speak to your local team