Our partnership work with the NHS in Tower Hamlets demonstrates how the Whizz-Kidz way of working can have a powerful effect in a whole borough. The paediatric and adult wheelchair services at London’s Mile End Hospital have been transformed by Whizz-Kidz. We believe that this success can be replicated right across the UK. 

Background:

In 2007, working against a backdrop of high unemployment, a large population of disadvantaged minorities and an above average caseload, the aims of Whizz-Kidz and NHS Tower Hamlets' joint venture were to improve overall services and ensure that children and young people received the equipment most appropriate to their needs – and quickly.

The results:

Users of the wheelchair service in Tower Hamlets now receive better quality wheelchairs, at lower cost, with shorter waiting times and the response from healthcare professionals and service users has been overwhelmingly positive.  In fact, we’ve:

  • Reduced or eliminated waiting times and eradicated the waiting list*
  • Reduced costs by 60%.
  • Enabled 70% of wheelchair users to take their equipment home on the day of their assessment, through our Chair in a Day model.
  • Significantly improved satisfaction ratings from service users.
  • Demonstrated a significant social return on investment.
  • We’re very proud that our partnership with Tower Hamlets won a Health and Social Care Award and is regarded as a standard bearer for wheelchair services across the UK. Read more about how our partnership has been recognised. 

Alwen Williams, Chief Executive, London and City Alliance NHS (former CEO of NHS Tower Hamlets) said:

'Whizz-Kidz has made an indelible mark in Tower Hamlets, transforming the entire wheelchair service. Collaboratively, Whizz-Kidz and the Tower Hamlets team have managed to generate significant savings and develop a swifter approach to assessment with enhanced clinical outcomes and a high customer satisfaction rate. But more importantly, through ‘Chair in a Day’ we’ve enabled many more adults as well as children and young people to lead more independent lives.'

How we did it:

We applied the Whizz-Kidz way of working to our partnership in Tower Hamlets. This meant:

  • More effective procurement.
  • Driving innovation (such as Chair in a Day).
  • Streamlined processes to save money and time.
  • Providing specialised assessments by mobility therapists.
  • Flexible approach to the application of eligibility requirements.

* Unfortunately, recently our waiting times has increased in Tower Hamlets. This is due to a huge increase in referrals that has not been met by extra funding from Barts Health NHS Trust. This means we’ve had to severely cut back on buying equipment, meaning patients are having to wait longer. We find this unacceptable and are lobbying commissioners for more appropriate budgets.