NHS England announced on May 18 that they would be phasing out the existing Wheelchair Voucher Scheme, with a view to replacing this with Personal Health Budgets.
Whizz-Kidz warmly welcomes this move; we think it is a genuinely significant step in the right direction that will give young disabled people, and their families, freedom of choice, and greater control over their own wheelchair provision.
Ruth Owen OBE, Whizz-Kidz CEO, said:
“We’re delighted with today’s announcement; it’s a significant step forward, and will give young disabled people, and their families, freedom of choice and control over their own wheelchair provision.
“We know that the families we work with want choice and flexibility; making Personal Health Budgets available for young people’s wheelchair services makes this a reality. This will, at long last, open the door to truly personalised, holistic support for young disabled people.
“Whizz-Kidz looks forward to continuing working in collaboration with NHS England to ensure young wheelchair users and their families are able to take full advantage of Personal Health Budgets, and design care that is truly tailored for them.”
The move was also warmly welcomed by our Whizz-Kidz Kidz Board Chair, George Fielding. George currently uses direct payments to pay for assistance at university. He said:
“My wheelchair is part of my identity and an extension of who I am; therefore the ability to choose the wheelchair that’s right for me and my lifestyle – and that gives me my independence – is incredibly important to me.
“It’s vital that young wheelchair users have a voice in decisions not only about their own healthcare, but society as a whole. Today’s announcement is good news for me; Personal Health Budgets for wheelchair services will allow me – and those that I trust – to make the decision, rather than have it made for me.”
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, made the announcement their Leadership Conference – ‘Realising the Five Year Forward View: Driving personalisation through personal health budgets’.