Nine year old disabled boy in wheelchair laughing with teen sister in kitchen

NHS England has confirmed that as part of phase two of the COVID-19 response, community health services for children and young people are being restored, including wheelchair services.

The announcement follows the prioritisation guidance for community health services first published on 20 March and subsequently updated on 2 April by the NHS, identifying which services were to be scaled back or stopped throughout lockdown.

A controversial recommendation detailed at the time was that work deemed medium and lower priority relating to ‘wheelchairs’ services for children and young people be stopped as staff were redeployed to the front lines.

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The proposal was criticised by CECOPS’ CEO Brian Donnelly and Simple Stuff Works’ CEO Sarah Clayton, warning of the long-term effects that the decision to stop services could have on young people.

Having passed the peak of the virus, NHS England has published new guidance on the restoration of community health services for children and young people in a letter to NHS Trust and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) bosses.

Referring specifically to children’s allied health professional (AHP) services (including wheelchairs), the advice to CCGs is to introduce a partial restoration, phasing back parts of the various services whilst retaining the ability to surge capacity if required.

According to the letter, CCGs should continue essential services, including carrying out local risk assessments and prioritisation of AHP caseloads and new referrals.

Concerning wheelchairs specifically, the NHS England guidance states that local risk assessments should be conducted and wheelchair referrals for new or review assessments should be prioritised.

In addition, the advice highlights that services should ensure essential repairs for wheelchairs currently in use continue where children and young people’s safety and ability to be cared for at home would be impacted.

AHP services should also offer support virtually and send advice packs to families, recommends the letter, whilst home visits should continue for children and young people with high clinical priority.

The letter comes as the NHS begins to tackle the significant backlog that has built up over lockdown. Speaking with the British Healthcare Trades Association’s Chairman Andrew Stevenson in May’s issue of THIIS Magazine, he described the situation.

“Across the NHS and social care system, there has been somewhat of a freeze in relation to all the other aspects of healthcare provision, largely with people putting off receiving care and treatments because of coronavirus concerns,” he said.

“It is important to remember that the nation’s healthcare needs have not disappeared; they are building up and there is now phenomenal latent demand across the entire health and social care system.

“For providers of Wheelchair Services and Community Equipment Services, this means a tsunami of demand will likely come after the lockdown ends and to cope with that, companies will need to continue pulling together and supporting each other beyond the immediate COVID-19 crisis.”

https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Disabled-child.jpg?fit=1000%2C561&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Disabled-child.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Calvin BarnettCoronavirus NewsCOVID-19 Sector NewsNewsroomNHSSector NewsBHTA,British Healthcare Trades Association,CCG,CECOPS,clinical commissioning groups,community health services,health and social care,NHS England,Simple Stuff Works,Wheelchair ServicesNHS England has confirmed that as part of phase two of the COVID-19 response, community health services for children and young people are being restored, including wheelchair services.The announcement follows the prioritisation guidance for community health services first published on 20 March and subsequently updated on 2 April by...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals