Ahead of the 2016 Invictus Games to be held in Orlando, Florida, from 8 to 12 May 2016, seven clinical commissioning groups in North West London have announced the launch of an innovative new integrated community wheelchair service.
Central London, West London, Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent, Barnet, Ealing and Hounslow NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are introducing the new service for people of all ages who have a long-term need for a wheelchair. This can range from people who need a chair occasionally to those who are fully dependent on a wheelchair for all their mobility needs.
A broad range of wheelchair service users from across North West London were involved in designing the new provision. It was remodelled to ensure that people that need a wheelchair are able to access the right wheelchair quickly, and with appropriate support.
Service users, lay representatives and key stakeholders have endorsed the approach the CCGs are taking which takes into account service users’ three key wishes:
• Users want a more personalised service that reflects their needs and allows for choice
• Users want a fast and reliable service
• Users want excellent hardware and repair services
The specifications and principles of the new service take into consideration the ten points of the Wheelchair Charter which was launched by the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance in July 2015. These include equality of access and provision irrespective of age or postcode; regular reviews with the wheelchair user or their carer; recruitment of qualified staff; and assessments for all wheelchairs within a nationally mandated timeframe.
“We are excited to launch this new wheelchair service,” said Dr Richard Baxter, clinical lead for the new wheelchair service. “Wheelchair users told us what was important to them, and we have commissioned an integrated service that puts these things first.”
“It is great that the voices of wheelchair users have been listened to so closely,” commented Alex Cowan, wheelchair service user representative. “The opportunity for a newly integrated service will help us all.“
Contracts for delivery of the service for these seven boroughs of North West London have been awarded to AJM Healthcare (for NHS Brent CCG, NHS Barnet CCG, NHS Ealing CCG, NHS Central London CCG, NHS West London CCG, and NHS Hammersmith & Fulham CCG) and Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (for Hounslow CCG).
Following a handover period, the new service is expected to go live in July 2016.
Additional information can be found here.