Frequently asked questions
What happens after referral has been made?
Every referral we receive is reviewed by a clinical team member to ensure the referral meets our criteria - see "Wheelchair Services" for these. If the form is fully completed by the appropriate person and there is enough information for us to identify the right equipment we will have this delivered to you. This means you will not need to be assessed in person.
If we need to show you equipment or assess you further, we will arrange to see you at one of our clinics or visit you at home. We will contact you to arrange an appointment.
If you don’t meet the service criteria we will explain the reason we are unable to offer you an assessment and wherever possible will tell you about other sources of help. If you disagree with our decision you should discuss this with the person who filled out the referral form. Our decision is based on the information they have given us.
What don’t we provide?
We do not provide the following:
- mobility scooter
- Sports wheelchairs
- electrically powered wheelchairs for outdoor use only
- equipment that is required only by a carer, such as a powerpack or attendant-controlled powered wheelchair
- transit wheelchairs for use in nursing homes
- accessories such as waterproof covers, sun shades or lights.
How long will I have to wait?
From your referral being received by us, we will aim to provide your equipment within 18 weeks. If the equipment required is in stock we may be able to provide it sooner.
There is a longer wait for some specialist equipment especially when it is obtained from multiple suppliers.
Clinic visits can normally be arranged sooner than a home visit. Please consider this when you are contacted by the service for an appointment as transport may need to be booked in advance, especially at peak times.
What will I need to bring with me to my appointment?
Please bring any equipment we have already given you with you. This is particularly important, even if you feel it is no longer suitable for you. This will include any wheelchair you are using, cushions and any accessories you have. If you are hoisted for transfers it would be useful to bring your own sling. If you are a relative or carer, please note we will need to see the person who is going to be using the equipment.
How can I help the service?
Please ensure that all contact information that we hold about you is up to date and correct.
You are welcome to bring a chaperone with you, or a companion to help you.
Make sure you allow enough time to arrive at your appointment at the correct time. Late arrival cannot always be accommodated and you may be asked to rearrange your appointment without being seen.
What will happen at my appointment?
The clinical team includes occupational therapists, physiotherapists and rehabilitation engineers. You will be advised who will be present at your appointment.
During your appointment you will be able to discuss your mobility needs and what you want to be able to achieve. The clinicians will discuss any relevant postural, pressure relief, mobility and social issues with you.
At our clinics we are able to show examples of equipment and offer you the chance to try them.
By the end of your appointment we would aim to agree what equipment we are able to supply and give you an idea of how long it may take to be delivered and fitted for your individual needs.
Once the equipment has been delivered to us, we will contact you to arrange a clinic appointment or visit so we can issue the equipment. It will be supplied by:
- our repair and delivery contractor (Rosscare) direct to your home
- the clinicians either in clinic, at your home, or the place where it will be used, such as a school.
How do I maintain the wheelchair?
When the service supplies equipment, it is on loan to you. You have a responsibility to keep it safe, clean and check it on a regular basis. Suffolk Wheelchair Service has a duty of care to repair and maintain it.
Rosscare Ltd repairs and maintains our wheelchairs on behalf of the service.
You can contact them by telephone 01473 351805 (choose option 2 when prompted) and then (option 1) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens if my condition changes and/or the wheelchair no longer meet my needs?
You can contact us directly or be referred by a health professional.
When you contact us please provide details of how your condition has changed and what aspects of your wheelchair no longer meet your needs. Following this we will review your case and agree an appropriate plan with you.
If I do not meet the criteria for wheelchair provision in Suffolk, what can I do?
I don’t have a Suffolk GP:
There are other wheelchair services in the region:
Cambridgeshire Wheelchair Service: 01323 847250
North East Essex Wheelchair Service: 01255 201771
Mid Essex Wheelchair: 0300 3039957
West Essex Wheelchair: 01279 698902
Norfolk Wheelchair Service: 01603 216956
I need a wheelchair for less than 6 months or I won’t use it for more than 4 times per week:
You may wish to hire or purchase equipment from The Red Cross or local mobility dealerships in your area. View our local suppliers list here.
Personal wheelchair budgets
The wheelchair service is now offering personal wheelchair budget (PWB). This is an individual resource available to help you meet your clinical and mobility needs, with the support of your wheelchair therapist.
You will have the option to add to your PWB if you require additional accessories, features, or a higher specification of wheelchair than within the NHS range. You may wish to self-fund or approach wider agencies and charities for any additional funding.
There are three choices for using your PWB. For more information click here.
What should I do when the chair or accessories are no longer required?
Please call the service in the first instance; we will discuss with you why you feel this is the case and discuss alternatives such as a new referral.
If a relative or loved one has recently passed away and the equipment is no longer required, we can arrange to collect the equipment so that it can be refurbished and used by someone else who may require it.
Rosscare delivers wheelchairs to users’ homes, place of work, day care centres, and respite care places. The service also delivers wheelchairs for demonstration and assessment purposes.
Your delivery driver will show you how:
- the wheelchair folds and unfolds
- the footrest is attached/detached to the chair
- to remove and replace the armrest for transfer
- a power chair is recharged and how often it requires charging
- a lap strap works and is adjusted.
They will also ensure any items from your old wheelchair that you require are transferred to your new wheelchair, for example modified arm pads or back supports.
Rosscare will collect wheelchairs that are no longer required by you, including wheelchairs that are worn out, too small, too big and unreliable or where the user is deceased.
Wheelchairs issued by the NHS remain the property of the NHS and should always be returned when no longer used or required by the person they were issued to.
We will refurbish returned chairs and recycle them wherever possible to ensure that NHS resources are not being wasted.
Suffolk Wheelchair Service Chantry Clinic Hawthorne Drive Ipswich Suffolk IP2 0QY
Telephone: 01473 351805 (when prompted select option 2; and then option 2)8:30am - 5pm Monday - Friday
Repairs: Rosscare 01473 351805 (when prompted select option 2, and then option 1)
http://www.dlf.org.uk/ Disabled Living Foundation – impartial advice, information and training on independent living
https://www.ssafa.org.uk/ SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force.
Rica is a UK consumer research charity. We provide practical unbiased information based on research with older and disabled people.