Terminally ill patients could lose free NHS wheelchairs

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Terminally ill patients in Rochdale and Bury will no longer be automatically entitled to NHS wheelchairs

Terminally ill patients in some parts of Greater Manchester will no longer be automatically entitled to a free NHS wheelchair.

Dying patients will instead be assessed on a case-by-case basis to decide if they should have one.

The Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said the £37,371 saved would be available for "re-investment".

Disability charities have been asked to respond to the decision by the BBC.

The move was approved at a CCG meeting in Rochdale earlier.

A spokesman said: "To be clear, this proposal is to withdraw the pool of chairs in current circulation at selected homes, and it would not affect the assessment and provision of a chair to someone in a care home who required it on a personal basis."

However, members of the Rochdale Integrated Commissioning Board sub-committee have asked for reassurances about the criteria which will be used to assess the needs of people before wheelchairs are withdrawn.

The CCG has also approved a recommendation to end wheelchair entitlement for children and adults with "mobility problems that are not permanent".

A spokesman said: "Presently the service provides chairs for these patients for use on an infrequent basis, for trips and specific occasions. This equates to 9% of the provision that the service makes for children's wheelchairs as a whole.

"Other service providers would be accessed if this proposal is agreed."

The Rochdale Integrated Commissioning Board has asked for a review of the changes in a year's time.