Our Election Ask - The NHS

Whizz Kidz is calling on the next Government to reshape NHS wheelchair services for future generations

Write to your election candidates

There is no substitute for receiving the right wheelchair, expertly tailored to meet the user’s needs. It is difficult to overstate the right equipment's impact on a young wheelchair user – it offers young people freedom and independence, builds their confidence and helps them become more engaged with their peers and broader society.

Whizz Kidz is calling on the next Government to: 

Mandate that NHS commissioning of children’s wheelchair services considers the needs and unique requirements of each child whether medical, physical or social. This should be reflected in the equipment and training provided and through cross-departmental collaboration

This means:

  • The establishment of dedicated Wheelchair Services for children and young people aged 0-25 years old, led by specialist paediatric Clinicians
  • Creation of specific, flexible criteria for the provision of wheelchairs and mobility equipment to children and young people
  • Dedicated budgets exclusively for the provision of equipment to children and young people
  • Flexibility in the type of equipment provided to children and young people
  • Children are seen in school, home or their local community the majority of the time
  • Equipment provided to children and young people within 12 weeks rather than the 18-week NHS standard
  • Provision of equipment to children aged five years and under to promote independence

How can I help?

We’d appreciate your help in making this call louder by writing to your local general election candidates. Let’s make the 4th of July a day that makes a real difference for young wheelchair users and their families.

Write to your election candidates
Kiyo-Rei holding her mother's hand as she moves along a pathway in her powered wheelchair

The need for change

Most young wheelchair users have no access to a wheelchair that’s right for them, leaving them at risk of social isolation, poor mental health, pain and physical injury.

  • The National Wheelchair Data Collection for January to March 2024 outlined that 80.9% of children under 18 received their wheelchair within the 18-week timescale meaning nearly 1 in 5 children are waiting over 18 weeks to receive their wheelchairs.
  • Within wheelchair provision, the NHS does not categorise young people as being up to the age of 25; it categorises them as 0-18.
  • There is no ‘children’s service’ as standard offered at NHS Wheelchair Services meaning key developmental milestone and life transitions may be missed, or the impact not recognised by Clinicians.
  • NHS Wheelchair Services do not provide specific equipment such as risers or add on power. This means some young people’s needs may not be met.
  • There is no statutory criteria for Wheelchair Services meaning there is a postcode lottery for some young people in terms of the service and wheelchair they receive.
  • Most Wheelchair Services will not support children under three years of age: ‘The Provider will accept referrals for children under 3 years if they have postural support needs or functional wheelchair support needs which cannot be accommodated in a normal commercially available buggy that a parent would normally be expected to fund’ (NHS Model Service Specification).
  • Whizz Kidz My First Wheelchair Matters found that ‘Respondents were asked to rate the suitability of the equipment provided to promoting their child’s independence. 47.62% of respondents rated the equipment as very suitable or suitable and 52.38% of respondents rated the equipment as unsuitable or very unsuitable’.