When we started offering specialist insurance and warranty 25 years ago, more than anything we wanted all of our customers to be protected. We didn't want them to worry about potential public liability claims, to be able to use their equipment with complete peace of mind and to have their product repaired or replaced as quickly as possible should the worst happen.
We have achieved that dream, and now, more than 300 companies choose to sell our policies to protect their customers and the equipment they use. However, there has always been a gap in equipment provided by the NHS; any issues with accidents or mechanical breakdown relied on the National Health Service or the customer to foot the bill. All local authorities are different and vary in who provides the service, so being able to offer protection for these people is becoming increasingly difficult. Thankfully as this becomes more standardised across the country and many start to shift to a wheelchair budget it is time to make sure a suitable policy is included in these provisions.
With a personal wheelchair budget comes the independence to choose the equipment you need from the people you trust. The scheme allows users to receive an assessment for their needs, but also move outside of the strict budget guidelines if they need to. Ultimately allowing the NHS to fund a purchase, but the equipment can be uniquely suited to the individuals wants and needs.
"While not right for everyone, for some people with long term health problems, the NHS is now offering them the opportunity to completely reshape the personal and health support they get. With over 50,000 people now choosing this route, this initiative has proven its practical benefits for patients and their families, and will now be expanded further." - Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England
This new scheme also offers a massive opportunity for business throughout the country to embrace a new model and provide a unique service. Indeed the NHS is keen to preach the advantages of this new model, and there are currently 11 sites in the UK testing this scheme, and gaining feedback in order to roll a version out to the rest of the UK in the future. One of the biggest concerns of this scheme and one that has yet to be answered is the worry of maintaining the equipment should issues arise. By merely including an insurance or warranty policy provision within the budget, as many authorities do already for personal health budgets, this takes all of the strain away from stretched pools of resources and benefits the customer hugely.
We can't say for sure what the future will hold for equipment provided under the new scheme, but with local authority budgets pushed to their limits and no room left for repairs in allocations, it should not be left to the customer to foot the bill, that’s where we come in.
Mark Bates Ltd