wheelchair advice


Does anyone know the criteria for getting an electric chair through wheelchair services? Do the rules depend on where you live?

The reason why I’m asking is that I have PPMS and I’m using my wheelchair more and more when we go out. I can self-propel in the supermarket but not outside, and I get fatigued easily too. My husband has problems with his elbows and wrists and our GP has suggested we give my OT a ring to see if they will consider me for one. Our GP has said he would support it as there has to be a duty of care towards my husband as well as me.

Any thoughts?


Sarah x

Hi Sarah,

Welcome to my favourite hobby horse!

Wheelchair services in my area gave me an indoor powerchair because I kept falling in the house (I can’t self propel due to a dodgy left arm) but wouldn’t let me have an indoor/outdoor chair because I didn’t need the chair 24/7. I had to buy my own chair for outside or stick with the attendant chair and somebody pushing.

Now, my argument (hence the hobby horse) is that if you need a powerchair indoors you definitely need one outdoors. Plus the difference in price between the chair they gave me and one that would go outside was only a few hundred quid.

You seem to have an extra argument in that your husband wont be able to push and the support of your GP. I would play down your ability to self propel or you’ll get nowhere. I hope that you are successful and that your wheelchair services are more flexible than mine.


Hi Sarah, yes it can vary from one local health authority to another. The waiting times will also be quite different.

I have an outdoor electric chair from Wheelchair Services. Before that I had an indoor electric chair. I was under the impression (wrongly) that outdoor chairs would be much bigger than indoor ones. So I did buy my own outdoor chair at first. Then after using that for a while, i felt it wasnt the right one for me, so I rand WS and asked to be considered for one of theirs. I waited about 4 months, which is good I suppose.

As Jane says, play down the self propel thing and I hope you get sorted soon.

luv Pollx

Hi Jane,

Thanks for your reply. Their rules and regulations do seem a bit sillyto say the least!

I phoned the OT department who told me that my GP would need to refer me to Wheelchair Services - so I phoned them to see what they would say. The conversation went a bit like this:

Do you need to use it inside?

No, just when we’re out

No, we don’t do them then, only if you need it all the time.

But my husband’s finding it difficult to push.

Would it be for you to do yourself, or your husband?

It would be good if I could do it independently

No we don’t do them, only if it was for your husband to control.

Oh, in that case he can control it then.

Have you got somewhere to store it and charge it?

Yes, in the garage

They don’t fold up to go in the car, they’re too big and heavy so it would just be suitable for the immediate locality.

Oh, what about the voucher scheme then?

We only do those for manual chairs, not for power chairs.

Needless to say I then said Goodbye and I’m left wondering if we can afford to source one ourselves.

Sarah x

Hi Poll,

I must have been typing at the same time as you!

Can outdoor chairs go in the car then? We have a Ford Galaxy which has a huge boot, but the way Wheelchair services talked there was no way a power chair would go in a car unless it was one of the special cars that you remain in your chair (can’t remember what you call them!)

When I’ve looked online there seems to be a huge choice with a huge range of prices, I’m not really sure where to begin!

Take Care,

Sarah x

Hi Sarah, no I doubt an electric chair would go in a regular car. These chairs aren`t really designed to be taken apart and stowed in the boot of a car…I may be wrong here.

We used to have an estate car and used ramps to put the chair in the back.

The cars which allow an occupant to stay in a wheelie in a car are called WAVS…wheelchair accessible vehicles.

You can also get Drive from Wheelchair cars. The adaptations are scarily expensive with a Motability car, but there are lots available to buy used and already adapted. I think about those quite often and look at them on-line. Hubby is the driver in our household and I ride in the back of our campervan, which has just had a tail lift installed.

luv Pollx

Hi Sarah,

As I have just been through this tararadiddle I can perhaps answer your questions about the car.

There are a number of wheelchairs that come apart to go in the boot of a car – but they are still very heavy. We decided (my daughter and I) that we needed a winch. We discounted ramps because it’s quite a tricky job. After much investigation of winches we have decided to get a WAV (on motability) so that I can just drive on and off. It seemed the easiest solution – quick in the rain and it saves me transferring onto a car seat which is not all that easy.

If funds are tight take a look on Ebay. Research the chair you want and then take a look for it online. There are some great bargains. A second hand £2000 chair becomes worth 5 or 6 hundred even if its only a few months old so there are bargains out there.