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NHS to offer a greater choice of care

It was announced last month that more control was to be given very soon to individuals healthcare and in particular, a new approach to wheelchair commissioning will replace the current voucher scheme.

The existing 20 year old voucher scheme has presented many pitfalls including a real lack of information and guidance around maintenance, repair and replacement as well as a shortage of providers where such a voucher can be redeemed making things very difficult for many.

The planned change, now named the new personal health budget scheme is aimed to offer greater choice of where wheelchairs can be purchased as well as a detailed care plan that helping users make better informed decisions about their wheelchair, including much needed guidance on future maintenance, repair and replacement requirements.

The planned change means that their wheelchair will form part of their wider care, catering for all of their individual needs and ensuring a more joined-up approach, which is one of the key aims of the NHS 5 year forward view. This new approach is also hoped to give NHS England more accurate data on wheelchair provision that will improve services and address regional variations across the country.

Ruth Owen the CEO from Whizz-Kidz, commented: “We’re delighted with today’s announcement; it’s a significant step forward, and will give young disabled people, and their families, freedom of choice and control over their own wheelchair provision. We know that the families we work with want choice and flexibility; making Personal Health Budgets available for young people’s wheelchair services makes this a reality. This will, at long last, open the door to truly personalised, holistic support for young disabled people."

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