The NHS in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire is reviewing the way that wheelchair services work, to learn how improvements can be made.
People who have a long-term need for a wheelchair are invited to get involved in the process, so that their experiences and feedback can be considered when a new service is designed.
It is well known that there are longstanding concerns locally about the length of time that long-term wheelchair users can face before receiving their chairs. However, the review is not simply looking at waiting times, but other issues as well, such as whether people want more opportunity to buy their own wheelchairs with NHS budgets, and whether the system of assessment and appointments can be improved.
The process is being run by the three NHS CCGs serving Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport, and South Eastern Hampshire. There are several ways that wheelchair users, or the people who care for them, can take part in this process:
Suzannah Rosenberg, director of quality and commissioning for NHS Portsmouth CCG, and speaking on behalf of Portsmouth CCG and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of CCGs, said: “For many years now, too many people have found that the local NHS wheelchair service has not been working as well as it should.
“We are reviewing wheelchair provision with a view to making positive changes, because for people who rely on wheelchairs for a long-term health need, this service is absolutely and fundamentally important. We want people to get a better experience, and the best way for us to know whether we are on the right track is to hear directly from the experts – the people who receive the service.
“We have some ideas about what a better service might look like – for example, giving people more control over choosing and buying their own wheelchair – but we need to hear from people who will know most about what might work, and what we should avoid. I would urge anyone living in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire who has a long-term need for the NHS wheelchair service to get in touch with us, and help us to improve the support we can offer.”