FES supplies

A quick query: I phoned Odstock yesterday to get some new electrodes which have arrived today. I was a bit surprised to see I’ve been charged VAT on the order. Surely they are only used by the disabled and should be VAT free.

Do you pay VAT on your electrodes?

Sarah

It clearly states “All prices are exclusive of VAT” on their website, so perhaps a phone call would clarify.

http://odstockmedical.com/how-order

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And I thought electrodes were all included in their NHS or private arrangements. I.e. if you’re an NHS covered FES user, then everything’s included and if you’re a private user, then you pay £300 per appointment with mostly one appointment per year after the first year.

I’m a private patient (if that’s the right word)

Sue

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I bought 4 packs of electrodes at a cost of £52.20 including postage and £8.70 of it was VAT. The price I paid was the price displayed but the invoice states VAT is a component of it. I’ll give them a ring tomorrow and let you know what they say.

I was given the FES by my NHS neuro physio on the understanding that I pay for all electrodes, leads etc. If I have a problem with it then she sees me to sort it out.

Sarah

Ah I see. Maybe you need to phone Odstock.

Sue

Apparently they have to charge VAT on them as electrodes can be used for other purposes such as for exercise!

Seems unfair to me, the chap at Odstock sympathised but said they don’t have a choice!

Makes them quite expensive, 2 electrodes cost over £6. I’m going to make them last a little longer!

Sarah

my electrodes are included as part of my NHS prescription

M

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Interesting! Who prescribed them?

Sarah

Sarah,

I was referred to Odstock by my GP several years ago. My Pace unit, and electrodes and bi-annual consultations are NHS funded.

Additional products are funded by me (wireless foot switch - high capacity rechargeable batteries)

So provided I dont use too many I can phone Odstock for replacement electrodes.

Mick

Thanks Mick,

Sounds like a different system. I haven’t had any contact with Odstock apart from for the electrodes. My NHS neuro physio gave me the unit and I speak to her if there’s a problem. I certainly don’t get routine appointments for it.

Looks like I’ll have to continue paying for them.

Sarah

Sarah,

sorry you are not NHS funded.

I did have to fight a bit and to submit a business case which identified the savings to NHS in the long run. By funding my FES there is a reduced need for A&E visits due to falls & any consequent in-patient or mental health services…

All the best

Mick

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In many places (my area included), the CCG, which is what replaced the old PCTs, basically will only fund FES in ‘exceptional cases’. And given that everyone with MS is different, nobody is an exceptional case. This is how they manage to get around the rule that says they can’t have a blanket ban on allowing the funding for FES.

So if you live in a place where you can get FES funded, everything is paid for, including electrodes, wires etc. But if you can’t get it funded, then it’s a case of pay for it yourself (£300 per appointment, 2 initial appointments, one 6 weeks later, one 3 months later, then yearly). But once you get past the initial set up, it’s just £300 per year and everything’s included, including electrodes.

By the way Sarah, if you haven’t already been told this by your physio, you should dampen each electrode when you remove it each day (with a small amount of water). This makes them last longer. Otherwise, you can actually get cheap versions of the electrodes which still work. Just do a google search for electrodes and you’ll come up with some online stockists. I bought some when I was initially lent an FES by my physio department. They work ok, much cheaper, probably don’t last as long but will do the job. They’re the type that are used for TENS machines and Slendertone type appliances.

Sue

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I find these electrodes work better and last longer than those supplied by Odstock, but that might just be me. No VAT either.

https://www.completecareshop.co.uk/medical-aids/tens-electrodes/starburst-electrodes-small-pack-of-4

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Bizarre isn’t it, that Odstock charge VAT yet other companies can get away with supplying electrodes VAT free to people with disabilities!!

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I’ll give them a go, thanks

I’m intrigued, I seem to be in a slightly different scenario. The unit was supplied free of charge and I buy the bits and pieces. However, I certainly don’t have all of those appointments. Are all of the appointments you list at Odstock in Salisbury and what do they do? I’m in the north east so it would be a bit far to go. I won’t have any checks unless I have a problem and ask to be seen again.

I was told by the physio that it wasn’t worth getting the cheaper electrodes as they don’t work as well, but maybe it’s worth giving them a chance. She had told me about dampening them.

Thanks,

Sarah

My appointments are at Salisbury but I think they hold clinics around the country.

The therapists check you’re using the equipment correctly, and have a series of things they report to the NHS, such as timing a 10 metre walk. I generally don’t do the timed walks as I can’t always do more than a few metres. Plus, they want you to set goals. But I’m awkward and refuse to set myself unrealistic goals that I already know I will fail to meet. I also don’t see that as a private patient I should have any goal setting etc as I use the equipment for a tiny bit of exercise rather than functional walking.

Personally, I find the appointments tend to be a bit of a waste of time, apart from collecting new wires, electrodes etc. But what is quite handy is that it’s not too far from the Southampton IKEA (on the way home) so I use the opportunity to go there, which is a bit of a treat for me!

Sue

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I don’t feel as if I’m missing out then!

Ikea sounds much more exciting.

Thanks,

Sarah