Short-term wheelchair provision “inconsistent and differs from place to place”

Section: The ALLIANCEType: News Item Date Published: 1st August 2018
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New research from the British Red Cross has found that many people who would benefit from a short-term wheelchair are unable to access one.

The report highlights that:

  • Most NHS wheelchair providers do not offer short-term wheelchair loans with the most consistent reason for this being that they have no duty to do so.
  • An estimated 4.3 million people across the UK could benefit from access to a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair.
  • 65 per cent of those with an unmet mobility need experienced significant negative impact on their quality of life. It affected employment, independence and confidence and risked social isolation.
  • Short-term wheelchairs can help people with mobility issues manage day to day activities and almost half (49 per cent) said their wheelchair hastened their recovery time

Given the findings of this new report, the British Red Cross are making the following recommendations:


  • The Scottish Government should introduce a statutory duty to provide short-term wheelchairs in line with long-term wheelchair provision.


  • Health and care services should introduce holistic mobility assessments for people with short-term mobility needs.
  • Information and training should be provided to health and care professionals to ensure that they are equipped to identify and advise people with short-term mobility needs on appropriate mobility aids, including wheelchairs.
  • Statutory health and social care services should improve the provision of short-term wheelchairs in their area, by exploring ways to deliver short-term wheelchair loans in a more consistent and joined up manner to the people who need them.
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