Gloucestershire Wheelchair Assessment Service (GWAS)
About this service
GWAS provides wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories to those clients with significant long-term mobility needs.
Based at the Independent Living Centre in Cheltenham, the team consists of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, technical instructors, a rehabilitation engineer and a rehabilitation engineer technician. This service covers the whole of Gloucestershire.
To access the service an initial referral will need to be completed by a healthcare professional. If you already have a wheelchair supplied by the NHS, you, or anyone involved with your care, can self-refer if your needs change.
All NHS wheelchairs supplied by GWAS are covered for maintenance and repair by Gloucestershire Wheelchair Repair Service.
The majority of assessments are carried out in clinics at the Independent Living Centre. Some assessments take place in the client’s home when information about the home environment is required. Special clinics are also provided in other locations around the county.
"I don't need a wheelchair all of the time..."
If you are able to walk indoors but require a wheelchair for use outdoors (on a regular basis), you can request an assessment for a Low Needs Wheelchair from your healthcare professional. This could be a nurse, occupational therapist or physiotherapist who has been trained as a wheelchair assessor. Alternatively, please ask at your GP surgery. The wheelchair will be supplied by Gloucestershire Industrial Services (GIS Healthcare).
If you need a wheelchair for short-term use (less than six months) ask your healthcare professional, who can order one from GIS Healthcare. Alternatively, please ask at your GP surgery.
NHS wheelchair loans cannot be arranged for occasional or holiday use. Please contact organisations such as The British Red Cross – call 01452 726666 or visit www.redcross.org.uk.
What equipment does GWAS provide?
- Transit / attendant propelled manual wheelchairs – when you need to be pushed by a carer
- Self-propelling manual wheelchairs – when you are able to move yourself using your arms
- Powered wheelchairs (indoor and indoor/outdoor) – when you are unable to use a manual chair independently indoors (subject to a safety awareness and driving skills assessment)
- Specialist buggies (for children who need more support than a high street buggy)
- Specialist moulded seating to support your posture in a wheelchair
- Pressure relieving cushions to protect your skin when using a wheelchair
Gloucestershire Wheelchair Assessment Service
Independent Living Centre
Telephone: 0300 421 7170
For repairs to NHS wheelchairs call 0300 421 7093
This number is monitored at weekends and bank holidays for emergencies.
All appointments and repairs are by appointment only.
How to find us
Independent Living Centre
Wheelchair assessment process
Once a referral form has been received by GWAS it will be triaged by a therapist for eligibility.
If you only meet the eligibility for the Low Needs Wheelchair, GWAS will advise the referrer to order the wheelchair from GIS.
If you meet the eligibility for long-term wheelchair provision, you will be contacted by a wheelchair therapist who will discuss your personal needs and circumstances.
You will then be offered an assessment and trial of a wheelchair. GWAS offers a wide range of manual and powered wheelchairs, accessories and specialist seating to meet your postural needs. During the assessment your wheelchair therapist will work with you to determine which wheelchair and accessories meet your needs.
Once the right wheelchair has been decided on there are different options for how they will be funded. See the section on Personal Wheelchair Budgets for more information.
What is a Personal Wheelchair Budget (PWB)?
Personal Wheelchair Budgets (PWB) is a scheme set up by NHS England to encourage greater choice in wheelchair provision.
How does this work?
If you are eligible for an NHS funded wheelchair, you will have a choice of three options:
- Option 1 (Notional Budget)
You can accept the NHS wheelchair which will be fully funded by the NHS. This will be ordered and adjusted to meet your needs. The wheelchair will remain the property of the NHS and you will have access to the Repair Service.
- Option 2 (Notional Budget with Top-Up)
If you wish to upgrade from your standard NHS wheelchair, or add an accessory to your NHS wheelchair, you can choose to pay the difference between the price of the original wheelchair and the cost of the accessory or different model. This needs to be decided before your wheelchair is ordered in discussion with your wheelchair therapist. Any upgrade will need to be within the range of options available to the NHS, and payment made before the wheelchair is ordered. If you choose this option, the wheelchair will remain the property of the NHS and you will have access to the Repair Service.
- Option 3 (Third Party PWB)
If you wish to go outside of the NHS wheelchair range the Third Party PWB will calculate the value of the NHS wheelchair prescription, plus a maintenance component. This amount will be available to you in the form of a voucher which you can use towards your new wheelchair. This cannot be used against a wheelchair you have already purchased. The voucher will be payable directly to your wheelchair supplier. If you choose this option the wheelchair will belong to you, and you will be responsible for any repairs or maintenance costs.
In all PWB cases, any wheelchair ordered will need to meet your clinical needs as assessed by your wheelchair therapist.
Further information on Personal Wheelchair Budgets can be found here.
Gloucestershire Wheelchair Repair Service (GWRS)
All wheelchairs supplied by the NHS are covered by a repair service contract. In Gloucestershire this service is provided by North Bristol NHS Trust. The engineer will travel to you and carry out repairs in your home. If the wheelchair needs to be taken away for major repair, or if it is beyond repair and unsafe to use, the repair engineer will endeavour to loan you a similar wheelchair until a replacement can be provided.
If you have an NHS wheelchair that requires a repair or a service you can contact them on 0300 421 7093. If you get the answer phone, please leave your name and number and they will call you back. The number is monitored at weekends and bank holidays for emergencies.
Sharing your information
In order to understand your needs and work with you to achieve a high level of direct health and social care, Gloucestershire Wheelchair Assessment Service may need to share relevant information with other care professionals, services and equipment providers.
This sharing of information could be verbal or in the form of correspondence, and could be with:
- Your home county wheelchair service, if you have recently moved to Gloucestershire
- Other care professionals, such as your GP (home and temporary), occupational therapist, physiotherapist etc.
- Social services
- Other professionals within our team
- Special seating engineers
- Wheelchair repair staff
- Equipment suppliers
- Members of your family (where you have consented)
- Couriers who deliver your equipment will be advised of your delivery address
It may be necessary for photos of your posture or equipment to be shared between Gloucestershire Wheelchair Assessment Service and other professionals.
You can object to our processing your information in this way at any time. If you would like to discuss the above, please contact Gloucestershire Wheelchair Assessment Service by telephone or email.
You can see our full privacy notice here: www.ghc.nhs.uk/privacy-notice
Useful links & resources
Useful guides for wheelchair users
- Apply for a Blue Badge – Gloucestershire County Council
- Motor Neurone Disease Association – Gloucestershire Branch
- Parkinson’s UK
This is your national site. You can find your local group on this site
- Gloucester Multiple Sclerosis Information & Therapy Centre
They provide information and therapy
- Headway Gloucestershire
Working to improve life after brain injury
- Healthwatch Gloucestershire
Your spotlight on local services
- Right to Travel UK leaflet
These films are made by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.