Wheelchair & Special Seating Referral

Wheelchair Services

Wheelchair ereferrals

You can refer electronically by visiting https://ereferrals.softoptions.co.uk/referrals/index.a5w

If you have not used this system before, please use the Register button to register your details before you Login

Who can refer a client to the wheelchair service?

Health or social care professionals who have completed our one-day accreditation course, or GPs.

GPs are also welcome to attend the course, although it is not a requirement. Please contact us to book a place.

Who is eligible for a wheelchair and related seating from Bristol Centre for Enablement?

  • Long-term need for a wheelchair, i.e. 6 months or more AND
  • Anticipated regular wheelchair use, defined as at least 4 days a week or more.
  • Attendant propelled or self-propelled manual wheelchairs are available, as well as powered wheelchairs in certain circumstances.
  • Please see the full criteria for further information. 

Are electrically powered wheelchairs available? Yes, under the criteria as below.

  • Outdoor-only powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters are NOT provided.
  • Powered wheelchairs are available for indoor use (i.e. in home setting, at school or day centre use if travelling via transport)
  • Indoor powered wheelchair may be used part-time to support mobility, or full-time.
  • Clients MUST still meet general wheelchair service criteria above for long-term need and regular use.
  • The client’s environment must be suitable for powered wheelchair use before one can be provided.
  • Powered wheelchairs are generally not provided for hospital discharge.
  • For clients who use an indoor powered wheelchair for all their mobility, there is a separate referral process for indoor/outdoor powered wheelchairs.
  • As a referrer, please establish anticipated powered mobility use clearly before making a referral.  This prevents disappointment for clients who do not need an indoor powered wheelchair and keeps the overall waiting list down.
  • Please see the full criteria for further information.

What about the client’s environment?

Equipment is provided based on an individual’s needs. Referrers are encouraged to consider access needs in anticipation of wheelchair referral and are to liaise with the wheelchair service.  Environmental needs are considered as far as possible but an entirely different wheelchair will not be provided for environmental needs alone.  

Do you provide any additional equipment for private wheelchairs?

Seat cushions only are provided for private wheelchairs where there is no safety risk and client otherwise meets provision criteria.   No other equipment is provided for private wheelchairs.

Do you provide headrests and trays?

These are provided only in specific circumstances. Trays are not designed to replace a suitable table in the environment and headrests cannot substitute for a suitable vehicle transport system.  Please see the full service criteria for further information and guidance.

What is NOT provided by the Wheelchair Service? 

  • Outdoor only powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters
  • Armchairs or other static seating.  Wheelchairs are provided for mobility purposes and not as a replacement for suitable static seating.
  • Attendant-operated power packs for manual wheelchairs
  • Shower or commode chairs
  • ‘E-fix’ or other systems to convert a manual wheelchair into a powered wheelchair
  • Transit wheelchairs for nursing or residential home use, except in very specific cases. Please see criteria for further details. 

Do you provide ‘lightweight’ wheelchairs?

We provide a range of equipment based on a client’s mobility needs.  The equipment has to be durable and rated for the client’s weight.  We are unable to provide lighter wheelchairs solely for carer needs.

A voucher programme is available to offer additional client choice. 

What is the voucher programme?

This programme enables a client to purchase of equipment outside of the NHS range.  The voucher amount is the NHS cost of suitable equipment, which can be applied towards private purchase. It requires the user to opt out of the wheelchair service pathway for 3 years (children) or 5 years (adults) and therefore is not advised for clients with rapidly changing conditions. Equipment still has to be approved by the wheelchair serviceas generally suitable before purchase.  

How long does it take to get a wheelchair?

The wheelchair service aims to work to an 18 week pathway from referral to provision of equipment.  Some stock equipment may be provided much more quickly and there is a longer wait on some specialist assessments and equipment.  Referrers are asked to make referrals as timely as possible and recognise the wheelchair service is not set up as a rapid response or acute service.

For more information

Referrers are encouraged to contact the  service with any general queries on wheelchairs@nbt.nhs.uk