New centre helps slice huge chunk off wheelchair waiting list

The North East Essex Wheelchair Service has reduced its waiting list by 30% in one year thanks to a move to a new centre enabling staff to put new ideas into practice.

Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust
The North East Essex Wheelchair Service has reduced its waiting list by 30% in one year thanks to a move to a new centre enabling staff to put new ideas into practice.

Funded by Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust and North East Essex PCT, the service provides assessments and wheelchairs for its 8,000 service users in North East Essex.

In 2004 over 360 people were waiting and experiencing a three-year wait, whereas by February 2007 there are only 103 people waiting for an appointment with a maximum forecasted wait of 36 weeks.

Currently, there is no waiting list for children, so they are booked for an appointment as soon as one is needed.

The waiting list has been coming down ever since the service moved from its old site at Colchester General Hospital to the new purpose built Independent Living Centre in Newcomen Way, Colchester.

The move has improved the services flexibility, meaning double clinics can be run side by side resulting in more clients being seen and in faster time. New specialized clinics for client’s with neurological impairment have been set up and residential homes can access a pool system for maintained wheelchairs.

The new centre means administration and clinical staff work side by side, which improves the smooth running of the service and increases response time to service user’s queries.

Nicky Ellis, Head Occupational Therapist, said: “We are very proud of the achievements over the past year. The new centre has helped us enormously, working closely with the new short term loan wheelchair service and The Colchester Catalyst Trust who are also on site. The team have been very creative working to improve the service, offering clinic, school and home appointments as requested by service users and emergencies can be picked up immediately.

“The success is also attributed to the team’s flexibility in working odd hours to meet service users needs and ingenuity in running new and challenging clinics. In particular the joint funding with local charity groups like the Colchester Catalyst Trust have enabled many of our service users to have greater choice in their equipment provision.”

“I would just like to say well done to this small, but very dedicated team.”

For more information contact Patrick Lowman at Geronimo Communications on 01284 768935

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