Prescriptive wheelchairs for adults and children living in the South West of England.
What is the Voucher Scheme?
The Voucher Scheme was introduced in 1996 to give wheelchair users a greater choice in their wheelchair provision (Health Service Guidelines HSG(96)53). Financial assistance can be given to clients in the form of a voucher which can be put towards the cost of a wheelchair of the clients choice.
Why Should I Use the Voucher Scheme?
The NHS provides a standard range of wheelchairs. Clients may prefer something different, for example a lightweight wheelchair.
Provided our trained therapists are satisfied that the wheelchair of the clients choice will meet their clinical needs you can utilise the scheme. There is, however, no obligation for you to take up this scheme.
How Do I Qualify for the Scheme?
Anyone who is has permanent mobility needs and is assessed as eligible for an NHS wheelchair from your local Wheelchair Service can utilise the voucher scheme.
Please check with your local wheelchair service for full details and eligibility criteria.
How Does the Voucher Scheme Operate? The voucher scheme works in two ways:
1. Partnership Option: The client can choose a wheelchair from an extended range offered by Dorset Wheelchair Service in place of the standard NHS wheelchair, provided it still meets the client’s clinical needs. If the client’s choice costs more than the voucher entitlement the client will have to pay the difference. The wheelchair service will retain ownership of the wheelchair and will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of it.
2. Independent Option: The client can choose a wheelchair from a private retailer. The client’s choice of equipment will need to be approved by Wheelchair Service, prior to purchase, to ensure the wheelchair meets the client’s clinical needs. This is usually done at a joint assessment with the retailer, the client and a therapist from your local Wheelchair Service. If the client’s choice costs more than the voucher entitlement the client will have to pay the difference. The client will have ownership of the wheelchair and be responsible for its repair and maintenance, having been given an allowance towards this cost within the voucher. It will be the client’s responsibility to arrange repairs through the private retailer.
How Much is the Voucher Worth?
In principle, the value of the wheelchair given is based on a client’s clinical need and on the client’s use of the wheelchair, in accordance with the Local Wheelchair Service eligibility criteria.
The voucher cannot be paid retrospectively or be cashed in and presented it to anyone other than the agreed supplier
A wheelchair provided under the partnership option remains the property of the NHS and is subject to VAT (the VAT element will be paid by wheelchair Service who own the wheelchair).
Wheelchairs provided under the Independent option will be zero rated and the client must sign a VAT declaration.
How Long Does the Voucher Last?
An NHS wheelchair would normally be expected to last at least five years. As the voucher is supplied by the NHS the voucher period has been set at five years. If the wheelchair is in need of replacement after 5 years the client can apply for a new voucher.
Suppose My Needs Change?
Wheelchair Service recognise that some clients clinical needs can change over a period of time and this can be quite unpredictable. If this happens then the client should contact their local Wheelchair Service to arrange a reassessment. If it is found that the client 's needs have indeed changed then the client would receive a prescription wheelchair or another voucher could be discussed.
Your local wheelchair service will not be able to change a wheelchair for any reason other than an unpredictable change in your disability/illness.
What if I Need a Pressure relieving Cushion or Backrest?
Your local Wheelchair Service can look to provide these following an assessment of the client’s clinical needs, ensuring compatibility with the chosen voucher wheelchair.
HMS client reviews of the products they have bought from us, the service they receive and their overall experience of HMS Mobility.
HMS Mobility Solutions Ltd accept NHS wheelchair vouchers.
The voucher scheme is a national programme designed to increase the choice of wheelchairs or buggies available to you by offering you the option to top up the funding provided by the NHS.
HMS Mobility Solutions Ltd work closely with local and national charities, access to work etc and complete charity grant application forms on your behalf to assist with the cost of buying your very own piece of mobility equipment.
Things to consider when purchasing a wheelchair through the NHS Independent Voucher Scheme:
1. Location of supplier i.e. near your home
2. Ask around for other wheelchair users’ experiences
3. See as many makes and type of wheelchairs as practicable (not too many though as it's easy to get confused)
4. Ask for a home visit as it will allow you to check:
- widths and heights
- use outside on a regular route
- check it goes in your car boot
- anywhere else you might use it
5. Remember to ask what the delivery time scale is?
6. Make sure the supplier carries out a proper handover and setup of the equipment
7. Ask for the manufacturers guarantee.
8. Is mobility insurance available?
9. Does the retailer hold spares or do they order when needed? If so:
- How long to supply?
- Does the retailer do repairs or is it a third party?
- Will they do home visits or take the chair away?
- Will a replacement be supplied during repairs- is this free?
- Will it be collected and delivered?
10. As you have purchased your own piece of mobility equipment you will be responsible to have the wheelchair serviced according to the manufacturers’ guidance make sure you find out the price of this.
11. Never feel pressured into purchasing mobility equipment, and if possible use a fully approved by trading standards mobility business.
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL WHEELCHAIR SERVICE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION.