EXCLUSIVE: Kent retailer launches new assessment centre and calls for retail market to focus more on clinical expertise
Kent-based mobility retailer Kent Mobility has launched its purpose-built assessment centre, investing in its clinical capabilities to provide in-depth, professional assessments for bespoke mobility equipment.
The Tonbridge mobility specialists completely redeveloped the site which is located approximately a mile and a half away from its showroom, building a new section to the existing building where John and the company’s in-house occupational therapist Emma Dobson will carry out assessments for a wide range of equipment, including wheelchairs, powerchairs and riser recliner chairs.
The launch event on the 4th April 2019 saw local healthcare professionals and customers visit the new light and modern space throughout the day, as well as meeting a number of Kent Mobility’s suppliers, including Prism Medical UK, Progeo, Careflex, Silvalea, and Leckey.
In addition to showcasing mobility equipment, the suppliers also ran a number of mini-learning sessions throughout the day, including “how to” sessions for measuring end-users for armchairs, slings, and shower chairs, as well as information on the new regulations for the safe transportation of children in vehicles.
Speaking with Kent Mobility’s Managing Director John Payne on the day, he highlighted that the new assessment centre included a number of features to help the company carry out its assessments whilst also making the experience better for customers.
“We have a hoist track installed that enables us to offer a better service for end-users who need to be transferred into different pieces of equipment during the assessment,” explained John.
“If you look at many high street stores in the industry, for someone who comes in looking for a powerchair, how do they lift them? Transfers can pose a real problem so it is something we wanted to make sure we could address at our centre.
“Both our showroom and assessment centre have on-site parking, which is an absolute must. We also have disabled toilets and importantly, we are in locations which are fairly quiet which is needed when you have children who are learning how to use and control a powerchair for example.”
Discussing the decision to invest in its assessment centre, John commented that more companies in the mobility industry needed to focus more on clinical and engineering expertise.
“I think there is a real lack of companies that have expert staff that can do the clinical side and the engineering side, which really have to work hand-in-hand,” he explained.
“More companies have got to invest more in their clinical expertise because of the way the market is going. I think in five years’ time, the market will really be split into two levels – the lifestyle-focused, bum-fits-the-seat level and then the more complex side of the retail market, where I think the market has to work on becoming more professional.”
Having completely refurbished its showroom in 2018 and now launched its new assessment centre, John says the company will be working with more smaller suppliers and niche products, focusing on those that can offer a quick turnaround.
“Looking ahead, we are now going to promote to customers that want specialised, bespoke, purpose-built equipment in either electronics or seating that we will provide solutions quicker than the NHS and give customers and their families the opportunity to choose the product they want, rather than be told what product they can have,” he finished.
“In the manual wheelchair, powerchair, and seating side, we are also working more and more with private OTs & case managers and this is an area where we will certainly see more growth because they are looking for companies like us that can offer a complete solution and make their lives easier.”