Wheelchair required

Really quick question I hope, and I have gone anon as my parents read this and it will upset them for some reason.

On the odd trip here and there I make use of a wheelchair that I borrow, not a very good one, but it is rare to need it. Well it was, but now my walking is really bad (SPMS) I think i need to start thinking about giving up the walking (a very loose definition, btw) and looking at a chair.

How would one go about this? Do i just go and buy one? Can I try them out? Some of these chairs appear to be thousands of pounds, the ones that you can get in cars etc, can i get financial help? or do i just end up with one I can afford? sorry for all the questions but I really don’t know where to start

Anon (sorry)

if you have an occupational therapist ask there but i think you should cast your net wider. a friend got a powered chair by private sale so look on ebay etc. you could use your mobility component of PIP but that will reduce your income accordingly. do you want a self propelled chair or a powered one? lightweight self propelled chairs are available for £65 upwards. trawl the net!

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Get a referral to Wheelchair Services and you’ll get one for free! Your OT, GP or MS Nurse will be able to refer you. There is a wait of course but it’s not usually too long.




You need to contact NHS Wheelchair Services now run by Virgin Care in many areas.

Either call your MS Nurse or GP and they can refer you for an assessment, and they will go through your options to suit your needs.

There are now National Wheelchair Budgets - so I got a prescription for two chairs:

I have these chairs for 5 years - they remain the property of the NHS and are for my use only and are maintained

repaired by the NHS.

You also might like to consider a folding scooter which will go in the boot of your car. (But you will pay for this yourself with PIP)

Note: powerchairs are only issued for folk that need them for home use and are having falls and can’t walk safely and are unable to use their hands or arms for a manual wheelchair.

The NHS won’t give you a powerchair for outdoor use only - which is what most people with RRMS need.

More folk with SPMS will start to need them for home use though - to be safe from falls. 7% of people will MS die due to a fall. Worth knowing.

I recommend getting a powerchair for outdoor use - even a cheap one from ebay - if you can’t get one from the NHS.

Good luck!

Anon My MS nurse and MS Physio arranged my first appointment with the NHS wheelchair services team local to me. They were brilliant and understand all the various options you might have or need. Charlie


My local Wheelchair Services are quite restrictive.

As Fay said, a powerchair is only issued for someone who needs it inside and out. So if you can manoeuvre your way around the house with a self propelled ‘chair, then that’s what they will give you.

And, they will only give you one chair. So if you qualify for a powerchair, then that’s what you get. And they are big beasts. Not at all easy to get around the house with one of those. And I’m not certain they’d fit in a car either.

So I’ve just made do with a manual Action2 chair. Luckily I have a husband who is happy to push. Otherwise I’d be stuffed. Someone asked me recently why I didn’t get a scooter for local trips - a bit of independence. The problem is that where I live there is literally nowhere to go on a little scooter. I live in a village that’s got zero accessible facilities, apart from the library (and I read on a Kindle). It’s all listed so can’t be made accessible. Everything else is some distance away.

In your situation, get a referral to Wheelchair Services, see what they’ll give you. If what they offer doesn’t really do what you want it to, then think about buying one. They may operate a voucher scheme where they’ll give you a voucher for the value of whatever they assess you as needing. (My local WS has stopped their voucher scheme!)


I bought a light weight one off ebay for 50.00. I can propel it myself if i wanted too. Angel was the company, i have had it about 3 years now its been brilliant and is still going strong. I even loaned it out to a lady who was going away on holiday she had it for 2 weeks and loved it.

they dont have to cost the earth.

Mine is very similar to this one. Dont forget you can get VAT relief.

My friend went for the wheelchair service. He got one it was huge and they couldnt get it through the door. He ended up buying his own in the end it was quicker in the long run.

PJ and dogtanian give excellent advice. First port of call, get GP or MS nurse to refer you to wheelchair services. They do basic stuff like measure from your knee to ankle, knee to hip, ask your weight. Back to shoulders and strength in your upper body. ALL THESE THINGS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT. Or you won’t be getting the support you need and boy, you will know about it.

Which is a good reason NOT to go immediately to ebay, amazon or just buy a cheap one. Sugget you try your local Shopmobility scheme to try the handling of one. If its just occasional use, think about hiring.

If possible go to somewhere like Naidex, big mobility event where there are lots of supplers eager to show their wares. Go to reputable dealer some where, where they let you try em out.

Research. Do you want to self-propel? Have you a person who will push you.? Has it got to go on different terrain (that will depend where you live).? How much £’s can you spend? don’t forget you can apply for a grant.

Where you going to store it ? Has it got to go in a car?


You say dont go on ebay and buy a cheap one. My friend went the correct route and the wheelchair he ended up with was useless for his needs and he couldn’t even use it in the house.

My wheelchair was approved by my OT. It is brilliant i have had no issues using it whatsoever.

I would rather pay 50.00 and buy my own, then wait months for OT who are way too busy and I am perfectly happy with mine, and the lady who borrowed mine used it for 2 weeks on holiday with no issues what so ever.

Okay, i’ll qualify that. As I said dogtanian and PJ gave the best advice - with links. Just saying don’t let the FIRST stop be ebay, cuz its buyer beware. You could end up with one unsuitable for your weight, height etc.

Apart from that, I stand by my advice. Shopmobility, try before you buy. Wheelchair services - you may get lucky.

Before i started using, I’d literally stop ppl and say - where did you get that one? what it called?

Even now, we get stopped and I have have the sales pitch down to a T!! But I only found out about mine cuz I saw a guy at a mobility roadshow and asked!! He had MS and after a demo from the dealer I was convinced.


I couldn’t live without my powerchair now. I can carry things from room to room, and go in and out of the

garden. This means a lot to me, independence wise.

A few years ago I did use the Shopmobility scooters at the shopping centre,

and I have used them to go around museums, and the National Trust, but I think I prefer using a powerchair for comfort,

because my arms are so weak, I can’t hold on to the handle bars on a scooter for long.

I think I could have got a powerchair sooner though, because of my arm/hand weakness, but put it off, the OT

did say to me: ‘why didn’t you ask for one sooner?’ If you are a neuro-patient you will get the help you need.

So, always ask for NHS help first - a better experience than asking the DWP!


I think it totally depends on your needs.

If you are unable to walk and therefore need a wheelchair all, or the majority of the time, then a ‘chair without a pressure relieving cushion, or one that’s not quite the right size for you is a bad thing.

But if you can walk and use a wheelchair for occasional trips out, then a cheap one is certainly quicker, and probably easier than going to wheelchair services.

And if your wheelchair services is anything like mine, there is so little individuality involved, one chair fits all (albeit slightly different sizes).


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Hi sue, exactly it depends on your needs. I have an electric wheelchair anyway which i bought myself (from betterlife), for the house. I only use my self propel if we go shopping and its quite adequate for that, i dont live in it. waiting for OT was six months in my area. I had used my angel wheelchair six months by then. I love my angel wheelchair its easy to fold i can do it. I have a pressure cushion too if needed but so far not bothered. Its horses for courses.

For me anyone who takes the trouble to answer a question should be recognised there are no or should not be a competition on who gives the best advise, at least advise was given its up to the individual to take what ever advice they find helpful.

All I know is my friend John ended up buying his own, as the wheelchair service in our area totally screwed it up. Its not always the best to go the right route as like you said one chair fits all, but they dont all fit the house lol. His got stuck in the first doorway, living in one of those sheltered flats they are rather small inside and consideration had not been taken for the width of the doorways. I am not stupid and when i bought my wheelchair it came with measurements and also weight restrictions which I read myself.

I can just feel if its for light use which mine was why bother OT when they have enough on their plate. I jazzed mine up i love it, and it has a pocket in the back to carry things. Just because its off ebay doesn’t mean its junk.

Angel mobility are a very good company.

It obviously depends on how good your Wheelchair Services is. Prior to me getting my power chair they came out to my home and measured the width of all the doorways. A week or two later I went for an appointment at the hospital where a rep recommended a specific chair, to account for the home layout and I was able to have a go. About 6 weeks later it was delivered.

I still have my manual chair which was also provided by WS and I was given that about 2 weeks after diagnosis. I did wonder whether I’d be able to keep it when I was given the new chair. However. there was never any discussion about returning it which is just as well as it depends what we’re doing which chair I use.

I think it’s so sad how things vary in different areas, it seems it’s back to the old postcode lottery!



My suggestion too would-be go down the eBay route.

If you type in ‘wheelchairs’ and then in the drop-down box select ‘nearest first’ you may find just what you want is close enough to decide if it’s worth pursuing.

Good luck

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Look, ‘personal wheelchair budgets’ were rolled out from April 2017, so it’s worth taking advantage of this.

This is a new scheme.

I found it brilliant!

More info here:

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My first chair was a cheap one ordered online. It was quite basic/plain but it just wasn’t comfy enough outdoors, my poor bladder felt every stone! My GP referred me the wheelchair services (with a warning that they never came thru, so look to MS charities etc.) but because I wanted a self-propelled effort as my vision is so tricky - I had no problems and at my first appointment, I went home with a chair. I also suspect that because I’m petite, it might be a kids chair but it’s SO comfortable. Sonia x

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PJ, excellent advice re the budgets thing. Hope they are taking note.

nindancer - comfy is good! in fact in a chair,comfy it everything!! as you spine gets jolted around. Since i became a chair user, I became a woman on a mission with regards to crappy paving, drivers who park on pavements and so forth.

My partner found this on youtube and I have to say, I howled…Alf Garnett: Wheelchair in the road - YouTube