How to obtain a wheelchair through an NHS Personal Wheelchair Budget (PWB)

Here at Recare we are regularly asked about Personal Wheelchair Budgets. How do I qualify? What’s the process? How can Recare help me get the right wheelchair for my needs? So this month we look at explaining PWBs, how they can help you and why Recare is a trusted choice for wheelchair provision through this NHS scheme.

What is the PWB?

If an NHS medical assessment deems you require a specific wheelchair, NHS Wheelchair Services will give you a voucher to the value of that chair which can be put towards the cost of buying either privately or in partnership with the NHS. With the option to ‘top up’ the voucher value with personal or charitable contributions, this latest scheme aims to provide more product flexibility and choice whilst covering the ongoing cost of your postural and mobility needs. You can apply for a new PWB every 5 years.

Why is PWB better for you?

Before the PWB scheme, you were restricted to a limited range of ‘standard’ wheelchairs available through the NHS. The range was narrow due to lean NHS budgets which meant in certain scenarios you could not access the ideal wheelchair for your needs and there wasn’t any funding flexibility to choose upgraded equipment from outside statutory services. 

Now with the PWB Scheme you have more control and choice. You can accept a ‘standard’ product that is completely funded by the NHS, ie. to the value of your voucher or contribute additional funds to afford a more advanced wheelchair – this could be more lightweight or configurable for example. 

PWB ultimately means more flexibility; you don’t have to simply accept a wheelchair from the NHS which meets minimum requirements. You can choose other brands and models from external suppliers such as Recare.

Getting a PWB is your right within your care plan. It allows you to choose how to spend your NHS funding. Before PWB you had to prove that no ‘standard’ NHS wheelchair met your needs. Our customers say PWB is ‘more straightforward’ and ‘client-centred’ as you have autonomy in terms of who you decide to supply your wheelchair – it can be any supplier in England.

How can Recare help you with your PWB?

To get the best outcome, it’s really important to contact us right at the start of the process. We can help steer you all the way from application to product delivery and ongoing support – ensuring it is easy and hassle-free for you.

The first stage is for you to give us your signed PWB voucher. This voucher can be used to fund, or part contribute towards the cost of a wheelchair, powerchair, wheelchair handbike or wheelchair power add-on. Our Assessors will discuss your individual wants, needs and risks and recommend the most suitable product to maximise comfort and independence. They will also take into consideration the findings of your NHS assigned therapist. This assessment process is critical from a clinical and practical point of view and is only ever available from a qualified specialist such as Recare.

Once you are happy with your prescribed product, we will send the specifications to your NHS Wheelchair Services for approval. This makes sure our wheelchair recommendations will fulfil the mobility goals as set out by your NHS Occupational Therapist. You may find at this point the value of your PWB voucher increases as you will own the product and therefore be responsible for servicing and repairs. The advantage of this is that maintenance and adjustments will be quicker as you will be dealing with us and not having to wait for the NHS. We will do it all for you – one point of contact for everything. 

When your product is ordered, you don’t have to worry about finances, we contact the contributor or contributors direct. Our team will sort it all out and as long as you are not part funding privately, you do not need to pay anything or have to claim back costs.

Why should I get my PWB wheelchair insured?

Specialist wheelchair insurance will cover the cost of any accidental damage and provides public liability peace of mind. This means you are protected against any unforeseen costs associated with:

  • repairs to your wheelchair
  • damage to third party property 
  • injuring a third person. 

To ensure you get the best specialist service, we partner with Mark Bates to provide insurance and service that reflects Recare’s commitment to quality and family values. 

Mark Bates can also help you with an extended product warranty, so you do not have the worry of paying for replacement parts if a breakdown arises. Typically, a manufacturer will provide a 2-year warranty however this can be replaced with 5-year cover right up until you can apply for another PWB voucher and new product.

The insurance and extended warranty process couldn’t be easier. One call to Mark Bates and then we will do the rest for you. We will sort out the invoicing direct with Mark Bates and as we have an established relationship, your repairs will be completed as fast as possible. 

So, what do I do first?

If you have been assessed by the NHS and require a wheelchair, telephone us as soon as possible on: 01993 880200. One of our Trusted Assessors can then discuss your needs in more detail and arrange a free product consultation either in your home or at our specialist wheelchair clinic in Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire. Or email us here.