A person in the UK who requires the use of a wheelchair typically has a “personal wheelchair budget” based on the person’s clinical need as assessed by the clinician in the local NHS wheelchair service. This prescription is based on a collaborative conversation between the person requiring the budget and the clinician. There are multiple variations of the personal wheelchair budget available, depending on your desires and needs.
What to expect with a personal wheelchair budget
With a personal wheelchair budget, wheelchair users should expect to have:
- A personalised assessment where they are supported to identify the health and wellbeing outcomes they wish to achieve
- A care plan which captures the health and wellbeing outcomes identified, which may be part of any wider care plans the person requires for their care, for example an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
- Care that is better integrated, meaning that different agencies work together to support their postural and mobility needs and achieve their health and wellbeing outcomes
- Information provided upfront about the amount of money available in their personal wheelchair budget and the options available to them locally to use it
- Information about the repair and maintenance of wheelchairs, if the option to purchase a wheelchair outside of the NHS commissioned service is taken.
Managing a Personal Wheelchair Budget (PWB)
1. Notional PWB
This is PWB provided through the NHS where you (the user) will know the available budget but it will be spent by the NHS for you. This will enable you to have the basic wheelchair which meets your needs and requirements. The chair belongs to the NHS.
This also offers the option for contributions to the personal wheelchair budget to enhance the wheelchair people can access. This contribution may come from an integrated package with other agencies such as education, social care, a voluntary or charity organisation, or through self-pay. This would have previously been known as a partnership voucher.
2. Third Party PWB
If the wheelchair team believe that this is the most suitable option available to you (user) and that a basic wheelchair is not clinically appropriate, then the user has the option to avail Third Party PWB. In this case, the user will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance. The amount of contribution is the cost the NHS would spend to provide a basic chair plus any extra needed to repair and maintain the chair. If the chair is more expensive than the PWB, then you (the user) will be responsible for covering the difference in cost.
Charities and other organisations can support you with any extra costs. This would have been known previously as an independent voucher.
3. Traditional Third Party Personal Health Budget
This is where an organisation legally independent of both the NHS and the person holds the money and manages the budget. This could include provision of a wheelchair as part of a package of support.
4. Direct Budget
The budget holder holds the money in a bank account or an equivalent account, and takes responsibility for arranging the care and support, in line with the agreed personalised care and support plan.
How long does a PWD last?
Adult PWDs last for five years, and child PWD last for three years, unless needs change.