Wheelchair provision

Today I met a disabled friend for lunch.She has recently moved from London to York. She met me in a state-of the-art electric wheelchair. When I complemented her on it she said she had made sure she got it in London as it was prescribed free in London to wheelchair users but she understood they were not freely prescribed in York and that the system varied from place to place.

I was horrified at this post-code lottery.

Have other people experienced this?

If so is any pressure being brought to bear by PDUK to make this provision available for all!

I had assumed all who needed this provision would be given it.



We live in Selby near York and they couldn't wait to give us a wheelchair albeit a manual one. A month after we had the diagnosis and saw a health support worked they fitted my husband with one brand new and told us if we only used it to go off to the coast etc we had to have one. They couldn't have been more helpful. So not sure about the electric ones but the manual ones are easy to get.


Hi Sue

I am pleased to hear that you had good service.

The problem my friend talked about is the provision of electric wheelchairs.

She scoots about on her own but tells me only manual chairs are prescribed in York and many other places.

People have to fund their own electric ones.

i wanted to know if this is true.


Hi goldengirl

I've spoken to our helpline manager about this and he says that there may be a number of reasons why  your friend has access to a different wheelchair.

NHS wheelchair services will offer assessments to determine what type of wheelchair or mobility equipment a person may be entitled to on the NHS. This will depend on individual need and in most cases needs a referral to the service by a hospital, doctor, consultant or occupational therapist. Some areas offer a voucher scheme which allows you to get more choice in the wheelchair you receive but this isn't available everywhere so there is regional variation. There's more info about this on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices/social-care-services/Pages/nhs-wheelchair-services.aspx

People in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or enhanced mobility Personal Independence Payment (PIP) may choose to use this to purchase a powered wheelchair via the Motability Scheme (www.motability.co.uk/cars-and-wavs) so this might have been the case in this instance.

I've also spoken to our Policy team and they'd be happy to follow this up further for you in the New Year if you'd like them to. You could email more details to [email protected]

Best wishes - and I hope this helps.


Thanks, Sharon.I will contact the campaign team later.

I have looked at a number of sites on the Internet and been surprised to find that wheelchair provision  varies from area to area with PCTs and the groups that replaced them,deciding on their own criteria for eligibility and types of wheelchairs to provide, and how to fund them.

Many users are forced to get charities to help.

I have asked my friend to give more information about her excellent , free inside/outside user-controlled powered chair, which was made to measure.

I will post again when I know more but am perturbed by what appears to be a postcode lottery.

Example of a recent government statement...

"NHS Wheelchair Service

NHS Wheelchair Services are run by local health authorities. They are responsible for allocating funds to the Wheelchair Service and Primary Care Trusts who are responsible for providing the service itself. This sometimes includes contracting the running of the service to an outside company.
It is important to note that the way services are organised and provided varies between locations. This includes the 'eligibility criteria' used to decide what type of wheelchair - if any - to provide, how soon to provide it, and the way in which wheelchairs are funded. .



Hi All,


In Northants. wheelchairs are only provided for people dependent on a wheelchair to get about in their home.  i.e. If you can stagger around your house, you are not supposed to want to go gadding out and about courtersy of the NHS.!!!   I just checked it out again because I still find this extraordinary

I think it is extraordinary too! Not even a manual wheelchair?

My friend moves around her home on crutches and is able to go out and about outdoors, including on buses in her powered version.

Surely this independence  should be available for everybody? We all pay the same tax rates...

She did not use her DLA allowance as that goes on a car able to take the wheelchair.

The PDUK campaign group are better able to explore the alarming disparity  than I am and to explain what the consequences of varying local policies and funding mean to individual groups and enable an informed decision about whether an organised protest is needed.

I can only repeat that my friend has her power chair prescribed and many are not able to have this service in other areas.






My husband has a powered wheelchair supplied by the NHS. Its just a basic model, but does the job. (I am the one with PD, he has other complex health problems). We live in Lancashire and the same rules apply as described by Eileen Patricia. The person who carried out his assessment told us afterwards

that if the disabled person can walk to the front door, they wouldn't be entitled to a power chair. I don't know what the criteria is for a manual chair. They also have to show why a manual chair wouldn't be suitable.  Its appalling that they think its acceptable that if someone can struggle around the house,  it doesn't matter if they can't go out.


Looking around on the Internet, I found many sites which showed that a number of groups have been fighting for some years to ensure wheelchair provision is standardised across the country.

Many reports have been published showing that the eligibility criteria, types of wheelchairs provided and funding  vary enormously  from area to area.

Some get  powered wheelchairs, some manual and some nothing! Some pay nothing, some pay a proportion ,some pay all the cost!

For example, the Muscular Dystrophy charity has been campaigning for some time and seems to be having little success.

Could not the PDUK team work with them and put pressure on the government to adopt the equitable, universal model that the Muscular Dystrophy group is campaigning for?


That is why I love England, because there the state is better to take care of its citizens. My friend’s father was forced to turn the wheels on a mechanical wheelchair every morning to get from point a to point b. As a result, my friend got tired of it and he found the best electric wheelchairs on https://www.paramountind.com/best-electric-wheelchairs/ and ordered one for $ 2,000 for his father. So we see that in America we need to take care of ourselves.