Wheelchair-sharing stations up and running in two Northumbria Healthcare hospitals
New user-friendly digital wheelchair-sharing stations are now up and running at two hospitals run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
As previously reported, the Trust was the first in the country to partner with Wheelshare, an Israeli company moving into the UK market for the first time, to introduce the innovative solution to support patients, visitors and staff who need wheelchairs.
The automatic stations, backed by a 24-7 helpline and at-site maintenance support, are now in operation in the main entrances at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington and North Tyneside General Hospital.
As part of a 12-month trial, the wheelchairs will be free to use for up to 12 hours. Users will need to swipe a credit card to release a chair (no fees will be charged) and must ensure they return them correctly so they are available for other users.
Damon Kent, managing director of Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management, the Trust’s estates subsidiary, said: “We’re really pleased to be leading the way on this and becoming the first hospitals in the country to install this technology, as we look to ensure the best possible experience for patients and visitors to our sites.
“We recognise that the current system can be quite hit and miss, with wheelchairs not always in the right places at the right times, so we’re hopeful that this new system will work really well, ensuring that patients and visitors will always be able to find a chair ready to go when they arrive at our hospitals.”