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The service provides wheelchairs, buggies, pressure distributing cushions and associated special seating for people of all ages with a permanent disability affecting their ability to walk. It is an ‘open access’ service and registered clients can contact therapists for information and advice as necessary. The Wheelchair Service based at Queen Mary’s Hospital is for people registered with GPs in Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston, Spelthorne, Merton and Sutton.

Services offered

Most clients are assessed in their own homes by experienced Occupational Therapists – or Physiotherapists, who work closely with them – to assess their requirements for manual or powered wheelchairs, specialist children’s buggies and associated supportive seating. Clinics are held at Queen Mary’s Hospital for clients with complex needs.

Once equipment has been provided, the service continues to monitor clients’ needs and carry out equipment maintenance work via a contracted repair company.

Vouchers for manual wheelchairs are available for people wishing to purchase wheelchairs not available through the NHS.

A pressure mapping service is also available.


Dedicated clinic with ceiling track hoist and adjacent disabled toilet.

More information

Adult’s Manual Wheelchairs – Full-Time Users

Attendant pushed wheelchairs may be issued where:

  • The client is unable to walk outside but can walk indoors (with or without aids)
  • The client has a helper who is medically fit and able to push and control the wheelchair safely
  • The wheelchair must be used at least four times a week outside the home environment.

Self-propelling chairs may be issued to:

  • People with restricted mobility
  • People who can use the chair independently & safely
  • People living in an environment where the larger wheels would facilitate use of the chair

Active user wheelchairs may be issued to:

  • People who can safely use a wheelchair independently in all environments; will be active and functionally independent
  • People whose activity levels will be significantly improved
  • People with a progressive disease who will benefit clinically from ease of use

Children’s Wheelchairs & Buggies

The Wheelchair Service provides chairs primarily for home use. We do not provide wheelchairs for school use only.

Special Buggies

These are pushchairs for very young children with physical disabilities to enable parents/carers to be take them out long distances by parents/carers. They provide more postural support than can be provided in a child’s standard buggy or a Maclaren major buggy.

They may be issued when:

  • The child has significant developmental delay, is not able to walk and it is envisaged that the buggy will be required for at least two years
  • The child has a permanent mobility problem or limited mobility walking out of doors
  • The child requires more postural support than can be provided by a standard buggy or Maclaren major buggy
  • The child is of an appropriate age for use of a buggy rather than a wheelchair (usually up to 5 years)
  • Where appropriate a supportive seat insert may be provided for use in the child’s own buggy
  • It is expected that a child will progress into a wheelchair as he or she gets older
  • Buggies are not provided for children when the request is for behavioural reasons alone
  • Accessories such as rain covers, play trays and shopping baskets are not provided by the wheelchair service; however the service can provide information about where such items can be privately purchased
  • Double buggies are not provided by the wheelchair service
  • Three-wheeled buggies are not provided by the wheelchair service
  • The voucher scheme may be an option when a specific buggy is desired by the parent or carer but is not clinically essential for mobility and postural needs

Children’s Manual Wheelchairs

Children who are unable – or have limited ability – to walk, and children who have the ability to safely self propel to increase their mobility and independence, may be given a self-propelling wheelchair

Please note:

  • Accessories are only provided as part of a postural support system to meet assessed clinical need
  • Accessories needed for transportation that are not clinically required are the responsibility of the transport provider e.g. some headrests

Electrically-Powered Indoor Wheelchair (EPIC) (Adult and Children)

These chairs are not transportable and must not be used outdoors. They may be issued if the user:

  • is unable to walk or where walking is medically not advised
  • is unable/unfit to self-propel
  • is physically and cognitively able to handle the chair safely
  • will achieve significant additional functional and personal independence in his or her own home
  • has a home home environment that is suitable for a powered wheelchair
  • is able to manage the essential care of the wheelchair, including charging the wheelchair
  • will use the wheelchair for a significant amount of time every day

Please note:

  • These wheelchairs are not supplied for exclusive use in day centres or schools
  • These wheelchairs are not usually issued to clients living in residential or nursing homes
  • Vouchers are not available for powered chairs

Electrically Powered Indoor / Outdoor Wheelchair (EPIOC)

All the above plus:

  • Client must meet the eligibility criteria. (see below)
  • Client must be prepared to participate in the whole assessment process, including the Proficiency Test

Eligibility criteria

These eligibility criteria have been produced to ensure that the most severely disabled people receive the highest priority for the issue of an electrically powered indoor outdoor wheelchair (EPIOC).

In order to be eligible for provision of an EPIOC the user must:

  • be unable to walk and unable to propel a manual wheelchair indoors
  • have a clinical need to use a powered wheelchair to achieve independent mobility at all times within their home
  • live in the boroughs of Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston or Spelthorne and be registered with a GP in within these areas or be the financial responsibility of the local Primary Care Trust Clinical Commissioning Group
  • have a permanent need for a dual-purpose indoor outdoor powered wheelchair
  • be able to ensure that an EPIOC will be cared for adequately either personally or by someone else
  • have a residential environment which is compatible with the use of an EPIOC, including an appropriate area with a power supply for a battery charger and wheelchair access to the outside
  • not exceed the maximum weight limit for the locally agreed range of wheelchairs
  • derive significant improvement in independence and quality of life through use of an EPIOC
  • be medically fit to independently control a powered wheelchair indoors and outdoors e.g.: can comply with DVLC requirements for motor vehicle drivers concerning epilepsy and other causes of loss of consciousness
  • Demonstrated in a driving test and by other means the insight, intellectual capacity and dexterity to operate an EPIOC safely and responsibly on their own and without assistance. Users should also demonstrate the capacity to compensate for their sensory or physical deficits
  • be able to read a car number plate at eight metres (27 feet)
  • have no problems with visual, cognitive, visio-spatial or other higher cortical functions or other medical conditions which would endanger themselves, pedestrians or other road users
  • agree to abide by the locally determined conditions of loan

If the user subsequently fails to meet any one of these criteria the wheelchair may be withdrawn. This will be determined by regular reviews.

Please note:

Priority is given to people who currently use an NHS indoor powered wheelchair or live alone.

Accessories and extras

The Wheelchair Service provides a variety of accessories to ensure the wheelchair meets the client’s individual needs.

Pressure distributing cushions

A range of wheelchair cushions is available from the Wheelchair Service. Cushions are issued following an assessment by the Wheelchair Service therapist, to improve posture or tissue viability.

Cushions are not usually provided for clients classed as occasional users, however if  a client has a specific need for a pressure cushion or has an existing pressure sore that is affected by sitting in the wheelchair a pressure cushion may be provided.
Referrals from Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists can be made on a pressure cushion referral form.

Accessories to suit posture and mobility requirements

Accessories can be provided to improve seating and postural support in a wheelchair. Such equipment may also promote increased functional independence and mobility.

Assessments for this type of equipment will be carried out by an appropriately experienced therapist from the Wheelchair Service, and, if appropriate, with a rehabilitation engineer.

Examples of such equipment may include:

  • Thoracic and pelvic supports
  • Headrests
  • Leg and foot supports
  • Harnesses
  • Backrests

A large range of wheelchair accessories is commercially available. Many of these are not clinically necessary for a client, so would not be issued by the Wheelchair Service, but could be purchased privately.

For safety reasons, the Wheelchair Service must be contacted for advice prior to fitting any equipment to an NHS-issued wheelchair.

Guidelines for provision of wheelchairs to residents in care homes

Patients being discharged to residential nursing homes can view guidelines for referring to the Wheelchair service.

Care Home Referral Criteria & Guidelines

Wheelchair Hire and Purchase Information

Wheelchair Hire and Purchase Information

Voucher Scheme

There are two types of voucher available:

  • Partnership Option
  • Independent Option

The value of the voucher is based on the model of the wheelchair that would be issued by the Wheelchair Service to meet the client’s assessed clinical need. The independent option includes repair and maintenance costs and therefore allows the client a wider choice of wheelchair. You can view the voucher scheme below.

Wheelchair service voucher

Equipment maintenance, repair and collection

Clients should not attempt their own repairs. A repair service is provided for chairs issued to named clients and also for pool chairs.

For repairs to your wheelchair contact Opcare on 020 4505 3500.


The Wheelchair Service approved repairer will check all issued equipment on a regular basis. Chairs in poor condition, and those not allocated to named clients, will be collected for recycling.

Wheelchairs issued are on loan and remain NHS property. If you no longer need your wheelchair, please telephone Opcare on 020 4505 3500 to arrange collection. In order to make the most of our resources and and keep waiting times as low as possible, most equipment returned will be refurbished to a high standard and reused.

Wheelchair Service User Group

The Wheelchair Service User Group is a group of people who have received a wheelchair from the NHS Wheelchair Service. They meet regularly with service providers and other interested parties to discuss ways of improving provision for wheelchair users. Meetings are held quarterly at Queen Mary’s Hospital.

If you are interested in joining the group please contact:

Caroline Bathurst carriebathurst@gmail.com


Referrers can find more information on how to refer to services at Queen Mary’s Hospital on our Queen Mary’s Hospital referrals page.