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Improving wheelchair services for people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

16/08/2017

We are helping to get wheelchair users and the people who support them, involved in making wheelchair services work better for them.

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Last year, our Sitting Comfortably report found that wheelchair services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are often poorly co-ordinated, with people waiting too long for wheelchairs and repairs. One year on from this report and wheelchair users are telling us that care is little different.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group are responsible for planning and paying for wheelchair services but have to follow national guidelines from NHS England as part of how they do it. 

The CCG have told us that they will be re-designing the current wheelchair service from next year, with a plan to get the new service up and running in 2019. They have promised to involve wheelchair users and those who care and support them in the service re-design. The new service contracts will be put in place in 2019.

Together with Cambridgeshire Alliance for Independent Living (CAIL), we have supported the setting up of a Wheelchair Users Forum to help feedback on care. It is vital that people with lived experience of using wheelchairs can be involved in planning better services for the future. The group had their first meeting in July.

Getting the right chair with the right support is so important in helping people be active and achieve what they want with their lives. People want a service that meets their needs.

One of the people we spoke to said, ‘if your wheelchair breaks, there is no alternatives…it’s not just a nice thing to have, it’s a fundamental right’.

Another told us, ‘we need regular, proper face to face assessments (not self-assessment) which take a personal holistic approach to our needs. Instead we get a “this is what you can have” approach, rather than “this is what you need”.

Part of the delay in re-designing services has been because the CCG are waiting for some national changes to take place first. One of these is personal wheelchair budget which has been developed by NHS England. It will replace the current system of vouchers. A wheelchair budget should give people more choice over what kind of wheelchair they are able to get on the NHS.

The wheelchair users and carers who came to the Wheelchair Forum liked what they heard about the bringing in of Wheelchair Budgets. Find out more about personal wheelchair budgets here

If you want to find out more about this work or have a recent experience of wheelchair services to share, please call us on 0330 355 1285 or you can:

 

 

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