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Innovative wheelchair-sharing system launched at University Hospital

Patients at University Hospital in Coventry are the first in the country to be eligible to use a unique new wheelchair-sharing system.

Eight wheelchairs, free to use for up to 12 hours, are now available via a user-friendly station located underneath the ramp to the Emergency Department.

Backed by a 24/7 helpline and on-site maintenance support, the system works in a similar way to hire bikes. Users need to swipe a debit or credit card to release a chair (no fees will be charged) and must return them correctly so they are available for other users.

Lincoln Dawkin, Director of Estates and Facilities at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, said: "We’re delighted to be leading the way by becoming the first hospital in the country to install this technology.

“This new system will further improve the patient experience by ensuring they are able to find a chair ready to go when they arrive at hospital."

Each additional hour or part of it after the 12 hour period will cost £1. The scheme, to be trialled at University Hospital for an initial year long period, aims to ensure they are always in the right places at the right time.

The system has been created by health-tech company Wheelshare, with the wheelchairs donated by a grateful Coventry family through the UHCW Charity.

Wheelshare chief business development officer, Nir Tobis, said: “Our innovative docking stations offer a user-friendly solution to all of this and we pride ourselves on providing a service that really makes a difference to patients ensuring that they can easily access a chair so that their visit to the hospital is as smooth as possible.”

For more information on Wheelshare at University Hospital, please refer to the user manual or frequently asked questions. The Wheelshare support centre, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is available by telephoning 01747 440916.

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