Bedfordshire and Luton Wheelchair Service

What our service does

The key purpose for our service is to clinically assess and provide appropriate wheelchairs and associated equipment (posture and pressure care) to clients with a long-term mobility need, (over 6 months). The Wheelchair Service will continue to support the clients and maintain any issued equipment. Having the most appropriate mobility equipment can improve quality of life, facilitate independence, enable access into the wider community and reduce the risk of developing deformity for our clients.

The wheelchair service provides training for the community prescribers of basic wheelchairs for adult clients that are not totally wheelchair dependant. We offer specialist assessment for adult clients that are totally wheelchair dependent, all children and bariatric clients. We run a bespoke seating service for clients with complex postural needs that require made to measure / moulded seating. We are able to pressure map as part of a specialist pressure care assessment and provide a range of complex cushions. We work closely with seating companies and hold regular clinics for equipment trail or review.

Each new episode of care is completed within 18 weeks of referral and this is normally sufficient for most clients, however if something takes longer to resolve we would continue to work with the client until the clinical situation required. We accept referrals for review throughout the time the client has the equipment, and have an approved repairer contract to ensure that the wheelchairs are properly maintained while it is on issue.

We currently review all bespoke seating clients annually. We would like to offer a review service for all children and powered wheelchair users but we are currently not commissioned to do this.

Location of our service

We are based at the Steppingley Hospital, and offer clients the option of monthly clinics at the DRC Dunstable, Redgrave Gardens Luton and CDC Kempston. We encourage our clients to attend clinics and only complete domically visits if there is a clinical need or when we do not have sufficient clinic space. We cover the whole county including Luton. We do not currently offer different services in different areas.

Who our service provides for

• We offer an all age service (36 months and through adulthood) and cover the whole county. Families appreciate the continuity of service.
• A copy of the Criteria is attached. We have requested contact with commissioners of our service to discuss the criteria and possible service improvements that we are not commissioned to provide.
• We are increasingly being referred children under 36 months and accommodate these as required. We are also providing basic equipment to clients who have end of life care needs that are less than 6 months, and facilitate discharge from hospitals by providing short term loan of equipment for clients with significant mobility issues. These are not included in our current service specification.

How to start using our service

• The service is a free NHS service; any equipment issued is on “loan” from the NHS.
• New clients require a health care professional to complete a referral form (attached, and usually done by a physiotherapist or Occupational therapist). Existing clients can self-refer over the phone or via email as required.
• We do not have a waiting list and clients are offered an assessment within 2 weeks of the referral.
• If clients do not wish to accept the recommended NHS equipment we operate the National Wheelchair Voucher Scheme which enables clients to part fund with the NHS clinically appropriate equipment. Charities will often support families with their financial contribution.

How decisions are made about who can use our service

• Clients who meet are criteria are accepted into the service. If we are unable to accept a referral or provide equipment we would explain to the client and the referrer why.
• All new clients are sent a welcome pack before their first assessment.
• During assessment the client is kept informed about the process and a care plan agreed.
• Details of who to contact for further appointments and wheelchair maintenance is given to the client or their carer.

How we communicate with our service users

• We offer clients the opportunity to complete the “Friends and Family” survey. We have a notice board with feedback and service information in our reception area. We verbally encourage clients and carers to express concerns or suggest service improvements. We have had a Service User group and newsletters in the past but feedback was low. We are hoping to re-launch this in the near future.

• Where English is not a first language we offer the use of an interpreter service.
• We are not commissioned to offer regular review for children but parents can raise concerns and request reassessment at any time.

Accessibility of our service

• Steppingley hospital base is not ideal for this type of service but it is centrally based for the whole county. The issues with the building are known to senior managers and where possible things have been improved.
• There is ramp access and disabled parking. We have a disabled adapted toilet, and if someone required changing we can offer a plinth, hoist and washing facilities in the clinic rooms.
• There is a waiting area with a limited number of toys.
• There are not adaptions for auditory and visual impairment.
• Clients are advised to bring their own refreshments and snacks if required.
• The service is an all age service and children remain with the service during transition into adulthood.

Qualifications and training of our staff

• All staff have completed with mandatory training, plus any other appropriate specialist training. We run an in-house training programme for our non-qualified staff and the therapists are experienced clinical specialists.
• We work closely with other AHP and MDT members. We have a regular paediatric therapist meeting for the health team and local authority therapists are welcome to attend. We liaise with local authority staff and regularly provide joint funded equipment solutions.

General Contact Information

• A client or carer can contact the service during working hours to discuss concerns, if available they will be passed to the therapist involved if not we have a duty rota so there should always be someone available to give technical support.
• The approved repair service offers an out of hours and emergency service.
• If someone wants general advice the duty therapist would be happy to give advice and signpost to other services as required.

Contact for more information

Sarah Sherwood
Team Lead
Steppingley Hospital, Steppingley, Bedfordshire
01525 631349
01525 631190
Opening Hours:
Phone lines open 09.00am to 13.00pm and 13.30pm to 4.30pm. Answer phone available out of hours.

Record Last Reviewed On: 24/10/2016