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Simon Ball Parliamentary Visit

20 May 2024

Simon Ball, Clinical Engagement and Implementation Manager for our Wheelchair framework was invited to The House of Lords to attend the inaugural Wheelchair Innovation Special Interest Group meeting hosted by The Wheelchair Alliance on Tuesday 7 May.

The Wheelchair Alliance is an organisation which champions national accountability for wheelchair users and their carers, to ensure their voices are heard and represented at a national level.

Their vision is to ‘transform the experience for wheelchair users in England through improved access, quality and effectiveness’ working in partnership with organisations, to ensure that wheelchair services provide choice, and have capacity to deliver the outcome of each user referred to a wheelchair service. They have commissioned and published two recent reports into Wheelchair provision, the first in 2022 was the ‘State of the Nation’ and in 2023 ‘The Value of a Wheelchair’.

The meeting was chaired by founder member of the Wheelchair Alliance and current board member, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and the Alliances’ Chair and COO, Nick Goldup.

In attendance were board members, representatives from wheelchair services and suppliers.

Attendees found the meeting valuable, topics covered explored:

  • National variation.
  • Consideration of product provision.
  • Ease of access.
  • Timeframe for service delivery.
  • Ongoing service / review.
Simon Ball in London

A provisional work plan was produced, focusing on data gathering and information collation. Future meetings have been scheduled for six monthly intervals. One early objective is to have an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) after the next general election.

The Wheelchair framework team’s excellent engagement has secured their position in this national working group, in partnership with NHS England and the Wheelchair Alliance with the aligned goal of improving access to the best products for wheelchair users in the most timely fashion whilst providing value for money.

It was a real privilege to be part of a group working together to influence people nationally about improvements in wheelchair provision. It was reassuring that the work the framework team have been doing for the new framework aligns with the strategies and gaps in product provision during the discussions.

It was also an honour to meet Baroness Grey-Thompson, who is immensely passionate about reducing barriers experienced by wheelchair users based on her own lived experience.

I look forward to the improvements this can make to patients.

Simon Ball, Clinical Engagement and Implementation Manager