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Patients and carers in the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven areas, which are in West Yorkshire, are being asked to give feedback on proposed changes to wheelchair and orthotics services.

NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to give their views about the proposed changes, which are to introduce referral criteria for the wheelchair and orthotics services provided by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

The proposed changes aim to speed up services for patients with high and complex needs giving them quicker access to assessments and delivering their prescribed equipment to them faster.

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Around 6,000 people use the orthotics service and more than 2,000 people use the wheelchair services.

Dr James Thomas, clinical chair of NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG said: “Demand for the wheelchair and orthotics services increases every year.

“We want to make the services more responsive so that people with the most complex and urgent needs are seen as quickly as possible.

“We know that the needs of some people referred to the service could have been met more appropriately by a referral, for example, to a physiotherapist or podiatrist, whereas some could have bought a readily available aid. As part of the proposed changes, the CCG is producing guidance on how to make the best choice.

“The referral criteria will help GPs and other clinicians to assess which services are best for patients and, by doing so, reduce waiting times for people with more complex health issues who need a specialist clinical assessment.”

In 2017, the CCG worked with Healthwatch Bradford and District on ‘The Big Conversation’ to understand public expectation and views about the future of health and social care.

An important theme which emerged from this work was that people wished to see better value for money in the NHS and that work was needed to manage people’s expectations of what could be provided by the NHS and what people could arrange and buy for themselves.

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