A Personal Wheelchair Budget, or PWB, is available to support wider wheelchair choice within NHS commissioned services. In December 2019, the offer of a Personal Wheelchair Budget became a “right to have”.
A PWB is a resource available to give you more choice over your wheelchair provision, offering you more control, so that your postural and mobility needs can be included in your wider care planning. You may be eligible to access a PWB whenever you require a new wheelchair, either because your clinical needs have changed, or if your existing wheelchair is no longer fit for purpose.
The PWB scheme enables individuals to take advantage of other funding sources as well as Wheelchair Service funding. This could be via other statutory agencies or charitable organisations, or you may wish to make a financial contribution yourself. This is not to reduce what is on offer but to consider how your wider care needs could be met with a joined-up approach and by pooling resources.
If you are new to the Wheelchair Service, prior to your appointment you will be sent a WATCh Health and Wellbeing outcomes form to complete. You can find out more information about WATCh outcomes by clicking here.
If you meet the eligibility criteria for the service, we will invite you to visit us for a personalised assessment. During this assessment, our wheelchair therapists will support you to identify your health and wellbeing goals and desired outcomes. We will co-design a care plan that supports these outcomes, as well as any wider care plans you have. We will discuss your equipment options with you, explain what a PWB is, and how it can help meet your needs. It is important to remember that a PWB will not be right for everyone.
What are the PWB options?
1. Notional NHS PWB
You will be shown the free NHS wheelchair that would be prescribed to meet your individual clinical needs. This will be from a range that has already been agreed with service commissioners. The value of this wheelchair is the value of your PWB. If you accept this wheelchair, there will be no cost to you. This wheelchair remains the property of the Wheelchair Service and the Wheelchair Service will carry out all necessary maintenance and repairs, free of charge.
2. Notional Top-Up PWB (also known as Notional Plus)
You can choose to have additional features fitted to the wheelchair prescribed by the Wheelchair Service but you will have to pay the extra cost of these. The wheelchair remains the property of the Wheelchair Service, the maintenance and repairs will be carried out free of charge. The only costs for which you will be liable will be the cost of any of the additional features if they have to be replaced.
A PWB cannot be used for some additional features such as power-assist devices for manual wheelchairs. Your wheelchair clinician will be able to give you some guidance on this.
Examples of features that are chosen under the Top-Up option include:
- Powered seat riser
- Powered elevating leg rests
- Lights for powered wheelchairs
- Headrests for transport
- Hub brakes
3. Notional Alternative PWB (also known as Notional Plus)
You can choose an Alternative wheelchair from within the Wheelchair Service range as long as you pay any cost over and above the cost of the NHS provision. Again, the Wheelchair Service will own the wheelchair and will be responsible for all maintenance and repairs. The wheelchair must meet your clinical needs and your choice must be approved by the Wheelchair Service.
4. Third Party PWB
You can also choose a different model of wheelchair that is not in the range offered by the Wheelchair Service. It must meet your clinical needs and your choice must be approved by the Wheelchair Service. A Third Party PWB includes an additional sum to cover maintenance and repairs. The wheelchair will belong to you, and you will be responsible for all the costs of its maintenance and repairs.
The PWB can only be used towards the purchase of a wheelchair of the same specification. This means that you cannot use a PWB based on a manual wheelchair to purchase a powered wheelchair, nor can you use a PWB based on a Class 2 powered vehicle to purchase a Class 3 vehicle. You can only purchase a wheelchair under this option, after the Wheelchair Service have authorised your choice. A Third Party PWB is not offered retrospectively.
Two of our service users, Adam and Alex, spoke to us about how important PWBs had been for them:
Guidance and support
We have developed a range of guides to support you through the PWB scheme, these are available to download below: