NHS wheelchair service
For people who have difficulty walking, wheelchairs are provided by the NHS Wheelchair Service. Ask your care advisor, physiotherapist or occupational therapist about the service in your local area. They should be able to make a referral for you. Alternatively, in some areas you can refer yourself, or a referral can be made via your GP.
All Wheelchair Services have criteria for provision and these vary from area to area, so it would be a good idea to ask for specific details. In a few areas, no wheelchair will be provided until a person is completely unable to walk but in most places some provision is offered when people find walking difficult.
Funding for powered wheelchairs within most Wheelchair Services is very limited and there is often a waiting list. There is an assessment process which can also be quite lengthy, so start to make enquiries before the need arises - your physiotherapist or occupational therapist is likely to know about the situation locally.
What should you do if you are refused?
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign provides an advocacy service to help anyone affected by muscular dystrophy or a related neuromuscular condition who is experiencing difficulties getting the wheelchair services they are entitled to. The advocacy service is free of charge, so if you are struggling to get the care and support you are entitled to, please contact us on 020 7803 4800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Joseph Patrick Trust (JPT), the welfare fund within the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, provides grants towards the costs of specialist equipment such as powered wheelchairs, adapted computers and electric beds, for children and adults. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has awarded more than 6,000 grants, totalling more than £6million, towards specialist equipment such as powered wheelchairs in the last 25 years to children and adults, helping more than 5,000 children and adults with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions to purchase specialist mobility equipment not available on the NHS.