The North West Driving Assessment Service, based in St Helens, has launched two new services – car seat and harness assessment clinics for disabled children and mobility scooter assessments for people with restricted mobility.
Part of the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North West Driving Assessment Service (NWDAS) is accredited by the charity Driving Mobility.
Its team of Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors provide professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability.
Driving Mobility oversees a network of 20 independent organisations – all striving to provide safe and independent mobility.
The new paediatric car seat and harness assessment clinics at NWDAS coincide with the recently launched and relevant Driving Mobility campaign in association with RiDC, The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers.
Both charities are working together to raise awareness regarding specialist car seats for disabled children so passenger safety is maximised. This vital information is now readily available to service users attending driving assessment centres across the UK.
The new free service at NWDAS is the first of its kind to be provided in the North West. It will ensure that disabled children, who require additional postural assistance whilst travelling in a vehicle, can benefit from greater safety and comfort.
Rebecca Jones, of NWDAS, saids: “We are delighted to be offering our new specialist car seat clinics which will be overseen by a paediatric Occupational Therapist.
"We are unaware of anyone in our region offering such an important and unique service – we believe it will deliver peace of mind to many local families with disabled children.
"Referrals to use this free service can be made via the recommendation of a healthcare professional and we offer convenient times for children, parents and carers to visit our centre.
"We will discuss needs on a one-to-one basis and explain the variety of seating solutions available from specialist manufacturers such as R82, Recaro and JCM Seating. Our OT will be able to assess a child’s needs and recommend the most appropriate car seat and harness.”
As NWDAS delivers independent driving and mobility assessments for all ages, this highly established centre is now offering mobility scooter suitability assessments. Individuals with reduced mobility or walking difficulties can access this service directly or via medical referrals. To assess product suitability, a variety of mobility scooters from different manufacturers are available to trial with various options regarding features, speed and size.
Rebecca Jones added: “The provision of mobility scooter assessments allows people to try before they buy – enabling the correct purchasing decision to be made.
"This is essential so users remain safe and in control of a suitable product. Trying out scooters in the presence of a specialist instructor builds confidence and driving ability for the service user.
"We are always happy to provide mobility advice and purchasing information as well. We firmly believe both of our new services will deliver greater highway safety and look forward to welcoming new service users to our centre.”