Mobilising an online wheelchair service

The term ‘mobilising a website’ took on a whole new meaning as we built and helped to launch a website for the Gloucestershire Wheelchair Assessment Service recently.

The new site provides an online source of information about how referrals can be made to the wheelchair service via a GP or healthcare professional, as well as guidance on the wheelchair assessment process, personal wheelchair budget and support plan.

Dan McAleavy, a local wheelchair user who was closely involved in the site’s development, said:

“For people with complex long term conditions, being able to access the right wheelchair with appropriate support is of paramount importance. The site is easy to navigate and will help educate local people on what services are available, how you choose a suitable wheelchair, as well as giving useful links to local community organisations.”

It was important that the site should be fully accessible, so as well as being compatible with mobile and tablet devices, it is also BrowseAloud enabled. This means the site provides in-built speech and reading support tools, facilitating access for anyone with mild visual impairments.

The BrowseAloud facility reads website content out loud, highlighting each word as it is spoken.

Head of Speech and Language Therapy, Gloucestershire Wheelchair Services, Integrated Community Equipment Services and Telecare Services, Jane Stroud said:

“There are currently around 10,000 wheelchair users in Gloucestershire. Two thirds of these are regular users. Wheelchairs provide a significant gateway to independence, well-being and quality of life for thousands of adults and children. They play a substantial role in facilitating social inclusion and improving life chances through work, education and activities that many people who do not need wheelchairs take for granted.”

The Gloucestershire Wheelchair Assessment Service is part of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, and provides wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories to those with medium to high specialist needs and to those who will need the equipment for long term use of more than six months.

You can view the site here: