Wheelchair help

Hello, I need help and I am sure someone can help me

Moving from a walking stick to a wheelchair was a very hard decision for me to make, I am sure most of you will understand.

I eventually had to accept the fact that I needed a chair. I would only use a manual chair, as I wanted to feel that I was still in control. I never knew it was so hard though. If I go into town into the Arndale centre, I can zoom around easily. I did have visions of meeting my wife from work, as it isn’t too far away. Unfortunately the pavements are in as bad a state as the roads, and it limits the distance I can go

I started looking online for help, as I was sure that I could find something. I did come across a brilliant idea. I just have to push once and then a small battery stored behind the chair, took over, meaning that all I had to do was steer as normal using the wheel rims, excellent, or so I thought. The problem came with the reply to my email, asking what it cost, £6000 to say I was shocked, is an under statement

Surely someone must know of something that can help me, that wont take me years and years to save up for

Thanks in advance for any replies

Pete x

I don’t want to use a mobility scooter, don’t know why. I think I am just that strange

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oh that’s shocking ! Would you not like to try a mobility scooter. I have a Mobie from Monarch… I love love love it. Brand new £ 1200. Second hand about £800. Xx

I have a mobility scooter,i hated using a w/c it made me feel awful but when i got my scooter although i felt silly to start with i liked it much better than a w/c.

Hi Pete

I used a chair outdoors for 13 years and found an ultralight chair suited my needs and made pavements fairly easy, even slopes were do-able.

As MS has made pushing harder I now use a Monarch Smartii. I pay Monarch £70 a month for 3 years interest free and get 2 lithium batteries (1 of them a spare). Easy to fold and put in my car.

I love it.


Hi Pete What you have described is a “SMARTDRIVE”. It is perfect for shopping centers but not so good for normal use as we both have found out. You could look at a “FREEWHEEL”, fits on the front of your chair lifts up the front castors and converts your chair to a three wheeled chair, costs around 800 quid. Tony.

Hi, I know how hard it will have been for you to make that decision to go for a wheelie.

We all go through that stage…but it is a need in order to stop us taking those dangerous dives into a road, pavement or wherever!

My wheelie is my best friend…without it I wouldnt only be house bound, I`d be bedbound too…as we all would chuck!

Those add on gizmos, which make a manual chair into an electrically assisted one, are very pricey and I cant see why. But as we know, mention the word disabled, and every price trebles!!!

Ive seen them on ebay, used for around £200...even thats a huge amount for some…us!

I dont know if wheelchair services could help you. worth a try, eh?


Not shocked at all by the price. Good wheelchairs DO cost a lot. Good news is the MS Society will give grants. Bad news is you will need supporting letter from your MS nurse…

Ask GP for referral to wheelchair services. They will tell you what is available on the NHS or what you can have a voucher towards.

You CAN save by buying 2nd hand but buyer beware! At least with a new one theres a warranty.

My wife isn’t at the stage where she NEEDS to be in a wheelchair,but has been using a stick since about October last year and has recently been diagnosed with MS.

Its interesting to me reading the views expressed here as we have been having a few debates about this ourselves!.We have an electric wheelchair that we bought for back up for our daughters,so that would be available for her to use or try without any expense.

My wife’s view is that she can walk and doesn’t want to “Give up”,which i totally understand.I see her in so much pain when i take her out at weekends(even though she tries to hide it) and just feel that if she accepted occasional use of a wheelchair we could get out and about more and would be less restricted,and enjoy life more being able to go further for nice walks by the beach for example.No need to be in it to nip round supermarket etc where pushing trolley seems easier and better for her than walking stick.

She is slightly more open to the idea of a scooter but i can imagine it will cost good money and be parked in a corner somewhere unused if we got her one!

Hi Pete, my experience.

If you are having falls at home and cannot walk safely around at home to the bathroom, kitchen etc.,. and have weak arms and grip making it difficult for you to use a manual wheelchair at home - you will be able to get a powerchair on prescription from NHS Wheelchair Services FREE.

NHS Wheelchair Services bought a QUICKIE Salsa M2 Mini powerchair [52cm wide] for me - it is super! It is a compact neuro-powerchair designed for folk with MS and MND. So easy to drive and has comfy JAY cushions. It is made- to-measure, so took 8 weeks to arrive after the NHS assessment.

It has 6 wheels and can spin 360 degrees easily. It’s also very smooth to drive and goes 6mph and 32km. The NHS also fitted heavy duty solid tyres, so I can go on the grass.

First they let me try the Invacare Fox - but it was too wide for my narrow corridors at home - [59cm wide].

The QUICKIE Salsa M2 Mini powerchair remains the property of the NHS, and is issued on loan for 5 year and is maintained by them. So no repair costs. If I need changes to the chair during this period the NHS will reassess me and change the chair if needed.

My local council did fit a ramp to the back door for the powerchair, but I had to buy my own ramps for the the car - ‘Smart Ramp’ which I bought used for £60, plus ‘tie downs’ which cost £25.

I can take this Salsa Mini 2 powerchair anywhere as it fits into our hatch back car, I do however need help driving it up the ramps and folding the back of the chair down and securing the tie down point to fix the powerchair in the car without moving around. This powerchair is heavy 113kg.

If you use this powerchair indoors/outdoors you will need to keep a jet wash by the backdoor to clean the tyres before bringing it indoors.

NOTE: You will ONLY get a powerchair on the NHS if you are too weak to use a manual one at home and are having falls. They won’t issue one for just outdoor use. They will just issue you with a manual chair.

I’ve had a good NHS experience for once, and a new manual wheelchair too - an Invacare Action 3, which also folds and goes into the car. It has two sets of wheels - passive and active. All of my mobility needs have been met by the NHS.

Hope this helps.


NHS Wheelchair Services here:

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The move to not using the legs is a very, very difficult one. About 10 years ago, I started using a walking stick. Instantly my walking improved. Over time though deterioration meant that I had to use two crutches about 5 years. Again my walking improved as I was more upright and more balanced. Last year, I had a bad attack which meant I had to use the wheelchair. However whatever little walking I did was better than the pre-attack walking because the chair was doing most of the work. For a couple of months I stubbornly refused to get a scooter. All this meant however was that I couldn’t go into our large garden. Getting the scooter enabled me to get back into the garden. I still use the crutches as much as I can but I’ve learned what my limits are and then the chair can really help, i.e. If I’m rushing for the loo, rushing with crutches would normally mean that I fall. Rushing with the crutches means that I get to the loo safely and in time. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Derek

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Hello Pete.

My electric wheelchairs are liberating. My indoor chair is front wheel drive which allows me a quick trip up to the local shop despite the excuse for a pavement. I don’t know what your pavements are like but my outdoor chair copes very well with the ones in London. Strolling from Charing Cross to Euston saves me the cab fare.

Keep looking and asking.

Best wishes.



I think Fays experience with wheelchair services was exceptional. Unfortunately this is not necessarily typical of wheelchair services in every area. Yet another example of the postcode lottery.

I had a bout of extreme shoulder pain not so long ago, and it lasted long enough for me to be referred to wheelchair services for an indoor/outdoor electric wheelchair and right up to the assessment at wheelchair services. I had the assessment and had an experience of using the type of chair - the only type of chair - they could offer me. It was bulky, unwieldy, and could cause me to start demolishing walls in my house rather than just batter the door frames in my manual chair (also the only type of manual wheelchair they supply and the one I have at present is reconditioned as well).

Once I realised that using such a chair indoors would cause me to lose what little ability I have left, plus be awkward to manoeuvre around the house, I said I didn’t want one. (Plus my shoulder was improving with physiotherapy, including a private physio!)

The therapist came and did a home visit anyway, because she said ‘just in case things change’. We confirmed that as my shoulder is better, I don’t qualify for an electric wheelchair now anyway, but it did reinforce my view that I most definitely did not want one of their indoor/outdoor chairs.

So I think that those of you with the kind of Wheelchair Services that Fay has will have a far better experience than mine. Dare I say that it seems Fays local NHS service has been outsourced, and perhaps that accounts for the level of service. (Which really goes against the grain to admit!)


I’m not in a wheelchair - yet! - but I can foresee a time in the future when I will need a scooter to get out more. I recently made the decision to use a rollator I inherited from my mother-in-law. It made a huge difference to how tired I felt after a few active days. The seat on the rollator allows me to rest whenever I need to. I think that I don’t grip the handles as tightly as I grip a walking stick, and I don’t lean my weight on it as much - I use it to steady myself, not support myself. These may seem like little things, but they made a difference.

I wouldn’t have a problem using a scooter for shortish distances, or to get round a shopping centre. Unfortunately many shops aren’t laid out in a way that accommodates scooters. From that point of view, a wheelchair is better. Good luck with finding a solution to your problems.

We are not orangutans.

Forget wheelchairs - go for a powerchair they are more compact and can go almost anywhere. They’re brilliant! I save my

energy for things I want to do, and I can get to places faster 6mph… Zoooom…

And I notice people get out of my way quickly.

As Pete discovered, manual wheelchairs are ridiculous for MSers - and are so, so impractical and exhausting. Our bodies

weren’t designed to be used in that way. Repetitive strain anyone?? We are not orangutans. A good name for an MS

campaign, but perhaps without the orange t-shirt.


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My leg had to be amputated due to a prolonged gangrene. However, it was a helpful to use an evacuation chair to get an easy access to the nearby market after losing a leg. Now, I don’t have to stay constrained and feel totally helpless.