Wheelchair & Special Seating Referral

Wheelchair Services

IMPORTANT: Changes to the referral process

As a result of some procedure and IT changes, we are making some adjustments to our referral processes. These changes will be effective from Tuesday 10th November and have an immediate impact on the way in which you refer to the Wheelchair and Special Seating Service.

The update that you need to be aware of is to our ‘INITIAL’ referral forms for NEW clients (those not yet known to us). A user guide is attached which will assist you in navigating the new format.

PLEASE NOTE: The current e-referral system will be switched off TODAY (Friday 6th November).

The new personalised referral form and password will be accessible by emailing: wheelchairs@nbt.nhs.uk from Monday 9th November – please make any referrals using this method and we will process these requests on Tuesday following the switchover to our new system.

Further information

If you have any questions regarding the new system/format, please contact the Wheelchair service on 0117 4144 900 or by email at: wheelchairs@nbt.nhs.uk.

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.

Which Referral Form should I complete?

All accredited prescribers can use our e-referral system above. To find out more about becoming an accredited prescriber please see our service criteria document, or contact our admin team to book onto the next course on 0117 4144900.

Please ensure that you read our service criteria guide and can confirm that the client meets the criteria before referring to the service. If you want to submit a paper referral please use the forms below, printing information clearly. Illegible forms will be returned to the referrer. 

 

To refer a new client to our service:

 

To re-refer an existing client to our service: 

 

To refer a client for a cushion assessment:

 

To refer a client for a Electric/Power Chair:

 

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.

The personal Wheelchair Budget scheme is available to offer additional client choice. 

What is a Personal Wheelchair Budget?

A Personal Wheelchair Budget (PWB) is a scheme offered to provide a wider choice for wheelchair users. At your assessment you will work with a clinician to identify what you want to achieve with your wheelchair. If the clinician identifies that a new wheelchair is required you will be prescribed an NHS Wheelchair and will be told the cost of this provision, this is your Personal Wheelchair Budget. As part of the scheme you also have the option to put your budget towards the purchase of equipment outside of the NHS range, or purchase additional accessories the service is not funded to provide.

If you take the option of purchasing from another supplier 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 service as 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 or call 0117 4144900

Wheelchair & Special Seating Referral