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Thread: Help with getting a suitable NHS wheelchair

  1. #1

    Question Help with getting a suitable NHS wheelchair

    Anyone here got info or tips on appealing against NHS wheelchair clinic decision? (NHS=UK public health care system)

    They're saying I only need a basic, hospital type wheelchair. I know from experience that this is completely unsuitable and would increase pain, and impact severely on my independence, energy level and ability to exercise etc.

    People with similar conditions to mine benefit from powerchairs on bad days, and manual on good days. Ideally with emotion wheels.

    But even just a quality active user wheelchair makes a massive difference in my ability to self care, pain reduction etc.

    So to offer just a hospital type wheelchair seems really wrong.

  2. #2
    The rules are strict. Very strict. Especially on powerchairs. I gave up and had to buy a suitable chair on eBay. I was lucky that I found almost exactly what I needed fairly quickly. I got a bit ripped off but the independence my ZRA has given me was worth it. Try Apparelyzed and Disabled Gear for listings as well.

    Depending on your circumstances it might be more productive to research charity grants and the second hand market than battle the NHS. Have you been offered a voucher? We don't have that in Scotland but I know of someone in England who got a voucher from the NHS and then topped it up to buy a ex-demo model from a dealer.

  3. #3
    Thank you for your reply Travels with Ti

    Re-Buying 2nd hand from Disabled, ebay etc.
    Ah, that's what I've been doing all these years!

    But the no. of rip offs seems to have increased. I've now been ripped off in 4 out of the last 6 purchases.

    Rusty wheelchairs with bits held on with string sold as ''excellent condition'' (and at excellent condition price too). It took 30 photos to show all the damage that he had hidden by taking only two photos from certain angles.

    Long story short, I was ripped off so much that I now can't afford to move house.

    I managed to get refunds in 2 cases. But both took a long time, and damaged my health. I've not regained what I lost health wise :/ So I still paid the price.

    Was shocked as well that 3 out of 4 rip offs came from fellow chair users.

    I'm wondering how common it is to get ripped off over chair sales?
    (i.e receive a chair that is significantly lower quality or condition than described).

    Yes they seem inflexible. I've given up on fighting them several times before because it was taking too long, too much energy. Chairs are not toys that you can wait for. If you need one almost 24/7, you need it now, not in 6 months time.

    But now that I've been almost bankrupted by rip offs. I think I just have to keep fighting them until I win.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    new zealand
    Sadly your system seems as piss poor as ours(nz)

    When buying a chair always check serial numbers etc

    I've just bought a power chair off the net and checked it out first

  5. #5
    Yes it does :/ I get the impression that having an atypical injury and complex health problems makes wheelchair clinic less inclined to invest in me.

    Re-checking out wheelchair first. I dont know quite what you're talking about. What useful info can you get from a serial no. before buying a 2nd hand chair?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Hampshire, England.
    The wheelchair service in the UK is a real post code lottery and one that I've lost, so much so that I don't even contact them any more, I just go and buy what I need.

    The big problem with this is a) you need the money to buy and b) the maintenance costs are your problem, I spent eight grand on my last power chair and it's turned out to be a bit of a lemon!

  7. #7
    Senior Member brian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    I like your bear.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by brian View Post
    I like your bear.
    Thanks I like your moustache, always makes me smile!

    My bear is from the book - Buddhism for Bears (see my signature).
    There's some even better ones in the book, but this was the only one I could find as a jpg for my avatar.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Timaru View Post
    The wheelchair service in the UK is a real post code lottery and one that I've lost, so much so that I don't even contact them any more, I just go and buy what I need.

    The big problem with this is a) you need the money to buy and b) the maintenance costs are your problem, I spent eight grand on my last power chair and it's turned out to be a bit of a lemon!
    Very true Timaru. Even spare parts are often way overpriced. And the fact that they're so rarely interchangeable on different chairs makes things a lot harder. I wonder how much of that is deliberate.

    Re- Spent 8 grand on a chair and still a lemon. I'm really sorry to hear that A good chair makes such a difference. And a bad chair....well I've felt the beginnings of suicidal ideation when left with only a poorly working /designed chair. It impacts so much doesn't it?

    Perhaps if disability/wheelchair orgs and charities could start up wheelchair buyers projects?
    They could have a USA Tech style guide to wheelchairs. A similar one for vendors. And last but not least, a squad of legal advisors/advocates who would help you get what you need from the NHS. Or at the least, they would help you fight your case for a refund on lemon chairs.

    I've been sold chairs worth £1300 new, that came with budget bearings and single walled back wheels!

    Would bike manufacturers/vendors get away with charging over a grand for such low quality?

    Then how can chair co.s get away with it?

    Maybe we need one of those parliamentary investigations? (agh, I dont know the right term). They look into over priced stuff, like electricity prices being too high.

    Haven't they forced prices down in some consumer sectors before? So why not wheelchairs and other disability aids?

    Wish I had the spare energy to start something. But I live and have to cope by myself. I often don't even eat enough so attending regular meetings in parliament is a bit pie in the sky for me right now :/

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    North Billerica, MA
    Check out - it is a UK based site, and "Burgerman" the site owner has had much experience dealing with the NHS and WCS types - HE WON!

    He is the first participant in a pilot program that will supposedly be rolled out to all in a few years where instead of buying you a chair, or giving you a voucher that is only good at a few (overpriced) DME dealers, they give him a lump of cash every three years to spend on his mobility needs. He just has to keep records to prove that he spent the money on mobility and not beer...

    The site is excellent in other ways, especially for those in power chairs. Lots of very technically skilled users, with tons of experience hacking them to make them work properly... Burgerman actually builds his own chairs (in his bedroom) that IMHO are far superior to ANYTHING the industry sells...

    T-5 ASIA-B para, currently working on building own power chair, as being in a manual is an EXTRA handicap.

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