Personal wheelchair budgets replaces the old voucher scheme. The aim is to provide wheelchair users of all ages with a wider choice regarding their wheelchair provision.
What is the aim of Personal Wheelchair Budgets (PWB)?
If you meet the eligibility criteria for an NHS wheelchair package, you will be offered an assessment and your therapist will discuss the options with you, explaining what a budget means to you and how this can be used to meet your needs. Your PWB will be based on the cost to the NHS of providing a wheelchair that meets your needs. There is no increase in NHS funding but there are options about how you can use your PWB.
What are the options?
There are three options for providing a wheelchair that meets your needs.
- A Notional Personal Wheelchair Budget. This means that you have an NHS wheelchair with no cost to you. The wheelchair remains the property of the NHS and will be supplied, delivered, repaired and maintained by the NHS at no charge to you.
- A Notional Personal Wheelchair Budget with Contribution. This allows you to use option 1 plus an extra contribution from yourself to upgrade the chair or add extra features. The cost to you is the difference between the NHS prescribed wheelchair and the cost of the wheelchair/parts you have chosen. The chair remains the property of the NHS as in option 1.
- A Third-Party Personal Wheelchair Budget. This option is used when your wheelchair team agree this is the most suitable option available to you, it is clinically appropriate, and it meets you and/or your child’s health needs. You will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance for the duration of the wheelchair ownership. The amount of your budget is how much it would cost the NHS to provide a wheelchair that does meet your needs plus a contribution towards the repair and maintenance of your chosen wheelchair. If the wheelchair is more expensive than the amount of your PWB you will have to meet the cost of this yourself. Other organisations or charities may be able to help you with this.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are personal wheelchair budgets different to the wheelchair voucher scheme?
Personal wheelchair budgets aim to build and improve upon the wheelchair voucher scheme and are part of a wider programme of work to personalise people’s care. You will not receive a voucher but will instead discuss your needs with a wheelchair service assessor and will be offered an agreed amount based on your needs.
Does this mean I can change my wheelchair now there is a new system?
You can only change your wheelchair when the chair is no longer fit for purpose or your medical needs have significantly changed. Your budget will not last for a specific time period, instead reviews will be completed if there is a change in clinical need.
How does the Third Party payment work?
Third Party Personal Wheelchair Budget: This is where the person chooses to use their personal wheelchair budget outside of services paid for by the NHS. An independent provider receives the personal budget via invoicing the NHS. You may need to provide a contribution if the cost of the chair is greater than your personal wheelchair budget. This would have been known previously as an independent voucher.
What about maintenance and insurance?
It is important to regularly maintain and repair your wheelchair. Public Liability Insurance is strongly advised if you are using your wheelchair in a public place, particularly a powered wheelchair. The Third Party PWB includes a contribution towards repairs and maintenance as the chair will be owned by you and will not qualify for NHS repairs, but it doesn’t include a contribution towards public liability insurance.
What does Notional mean?
This means the wheelchair budget is held by the NHS Wheelchair Service, but you know what that budget is and it’s your personal budget. You won’t receive any money but the budget is paid directly to the supplier for your wheelchair.