Tuesday 28 February 2023

Obtaining Mobility Aids & Appliances - Mobility Scooters, Powered Wheelchairs & more


Medical mobility aids are designed to help people who have a disability achieve the maximum degree of independence possible. They can provide some quality of life and independence to a person with disabilities in their home and outside their home, and participate in the community something which has likely been impossible prior to obtaining supports.

Medical and disability aids and appliances can be extremely expensive. This is usually due to a combination of their manufacture and ‘medical inflation’, which increases the price for medical products. For many people, essential items that they need to improve their quality of life are prohibitively expensive. For this reason the local health offices run an aids and appliances scheme.

If you are limited in your mobility as a result of having disabilities associated with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and are mostly dependent on others for support, e.g., if you are confined to your bed and/or home you could be supported more by obtaining a mobility appliance from your local health office, if you are entitled to that support. Accessing the mobility support involves completing an application process for a mobility aid or appliance via the HSE. 
Alternatively you can make a private purchase. Renting is also a possibility for items such as a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair if you need to be independently mobile for a time.

Medical mobility aids are usually free to medical card holders via the HSE route. The card holder must first be assessed by the relevant occupational therapist (OT) or physiotherapist who can recommend and prescribe the most suitable equipment. Depending on the type of equipment required, a qualified therapist will assess the individual and make a recommendation to the body responsible for the provision of the equipment. 
If an item must be purchased by a non-medical card holder, the person can apply to their local health board for a contribution towards the costs. Insurers, such as VHI also often refund part of the cost of medical and surgical aids. More on that further on.

HSE Assessment for Aids and Appliances to Support You


HSE Prescribing Guidance Manual for Aids and Appliances for Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs), updated in 2021 here. This manual gives an overview of the extensive list and variety of aids and appliances available via the HSE. It also gives an idea of items you may not know exist that could be obtained by private purchase or rent.

NB: The assessment process and provisions for community funded aids and appliances and prescribing criteria may vary in different parts of the country.

Disability Assessors and Assessments

Occupational therapy services are designed to help people who have a disability achieve the maximum degree of independence. Many occupational therapists work in the Health Service Executive (HSE) or Primary Care Teams. Occupational therapists will assess for aids to daily living – these include wheelchairs, mobility aids, specialised chairs, bath, shower and toilet aids, stairlifts, hoists, etc. 

Physiotherapists will assess for movement, strength and balance training equipment, walking aids and exercise device. 

Speech and language therapists will assess for communication, speech therapy, and training aids. We have had feedback from people with severe ME who have swallowing and speech issues that require attention.

Other relevant therapists may be involved in carrying out assessments, depending on the equipment or appliance required, it will very much depend on the individual.

For more information re the community therapists and supports mentioned above, contact your Local Health Services Office, which can be found via the link here: - 


What to do: You select your county first and then the health office nearest to you and make a call, most local numbers are shown. You may have to speak with the public health nurse or you can ask directly for the relevant therapist. 

There may be a waiting list to see an occupational therapist/other therapist and applications are prioritised according to need. 

Prescribed aids and appliances are available free of charge to medical card holders, people on the Long Term Illness Scheme and people who have a Health Amendment Act Card. Brief information on some of those schemes below.

Medical Card Holders

Equipment for people with disabilities, sometimes referred to as aids and appliances, is usually supplied free of charge to medical card holders. The card holder must first be assessed by a suitably qualified therapist who can recommend and prescribe the most appropriate equipment.

Long Term Illness Card Holders

People who have one of the conditions listed as qualifying under the Department of Health’s Long Term Illness Scheme may be eligible to receive items of equipment, essential for the primary condition, free of charge. 

HSE Assessment 

Usually, an occupational therapist (OT) carries out an assessment of your ability to function in relation to the normal requirements of living – dressing, eating, bathing, etc. Your home arrangements are also assessed and the occupational therapist decides what assistance you need by way of aids and appliances. For example, a wheelchair, chair lift or downstairs bathroom.

The occupational therapist may then arrange for the provision of some appropriate aids and appliances by the HSE, if you are eligible, or may certify that you are eligible for the housing adaptation grant for people with a disability. They may also provide advice and assistance to you, your family or your carers about what changes or adaptations need to be made.

How to apply for your assessment

You may apply directly to your Local Health Office for the services of an occupational therapist, or apply via a public health nurse, family doctor (GP) or hospital. It depends on which part of the country you live and your circumstances. You may just need to get in touch with the Occupational Therapist at your local health office yourself without any referral, but you might have to provide supportive evidence from your GP as part of an assessment process. 

An alternative way of contacting the HSE to make any queries is to phone: 1850 24 1850 or to email: hselive@hse.ie 

Feedback shows that people with ME have made direct contact with occupational therapists. You can also ask your GP for help with an application for devices and aids. Your GP will be involved in completing a section of the OT's assessment on your behalf. It may be helpful to let them know your intentions to apply for supportive devices.

Local Authority Grants & Mobility Aids Grant Scheme

Did you know you can get a housing adaptation grant from your local authority to make your home more accessible?

There are three grants available to help make your home more suitable to your needs. Grants are means-tested and come from your local authority. 

  • Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability

    The Housing Adaptation Grant assists people with disabilities to have necessary adaptations, repairs or improvement works carried out on their homes to make their accommodation more suitable for their needs. 

    Examples of qualifying works include an extension for an accessible bedroom or bathroom, ramps and grab rails.

    The maximum grant is €30,000 which may cover up to 95% of the approved cost of works.

  • Mobility Aids Grant

    The Mobility Aids Grant is available to cover a basic suite of works to address the mobility problems of a member of a household. 

    Examples of qualifying works include the provision of ceiling tracking hoists, stair lifts, level access showers, access ramps, grab rails and some minor adaptation

    The maximum grant is €6,000 which may cover 100% of the costs of the work.

  • Housing Aid for Older People Grant

    The Housing Aid for Older People Grant assists older people living in poor housing conditions to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out. 

    Examples of qualifying works include structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repairs to or replacement
    of windows and doors, provision of water supply and sanitary facilities, and provision of heating. It is for people aged 66 years or more. 

    The maximum grant is €8,000 which may cover up to 95% of the approved cost of works. 

All three grants are means tested. 
Find out more about the grants and the application form here You can also get a copy of the application form from the housing grants section of your local authority.

More information is available from the National Disability Authority, which published a book entitled ‘Buildings for Everyone’. To obtain a copy, or for further information, contact the authority at (01) 6080400.

More information on the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme here

Mobility Scooter

The next section includes information to help you to consider the best choice of mobility scooter/powered wheelchair. It includes advice re your needs and your current circumstances, and information re the various categories of mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs, as well as the practical requirements when owning a mobility appliance and the accessories that might be useful to you.

Mobility Scooters and Powered Wheelchairs

There are a couple of ways of obtaining a mobility scooter or a powered wheelchair. You can apply via the HSE or you can choose to buy privately. There is also a possibility to rent a mobility scooter/powered wheelchair if you only need one for a short time, or if you want to get an idea of how one works or suits you before planning to get one.

There are various possibilities but you or your carer/family/friend would be wise to do a bit of research before applying for or buying a large mobility aid. 
Some scooters and powered wheelchairs require strength to get them into a car boot, and a car boot may need to be big enough to accommodate a scooter/wheelchair. 
Certain devices may be too big to store easily in your home or difficult to use around your home. 

Some larger mobility aids are designed so that the seat and handlebars may lower, and some can fold up or be taken apart. 

Certain types of mobility scooters/powered wheelchairs are suitable for travel in a taxi and a taxi driver could help lift it into the car/van. 
Various taxi companies have vans where you can drive the scooter onto the van by ramp. 

There's a lot of choice so it is a good idea to do a bit of research before obtaining a new mobility device whether you get one via the HSE or buy privately. It is important to consider a number of factors about yourself and about mobility scooters/powered wheelchairs, so that you and/or your carers can make informed decisions and choices. 
If the scooter/wheelchair is being provided by the local health services, the occupational therapist and wheelchair service provider will be able to assist you in selecting the most suitable appliance for you.

Powered Wheelchair

Applying for a Mobility Scooter/Powered Wheelchair via the HSE
The HSE application process can be very lengthy for a variety of reasons. The waiting time for an assessment could be 12-18 months though things may move quickly once an assessment has taken place. Then mobility scooters/powered wheelchair are brought to you to try, or you can visit the supplier. Funding takes around 6 weeks.

One can contact the Occupational Health Therapist at your local health office and set up an assessment. You can find your local health office number and address via link here, then your county and check the list for the local health office nearest to you.
Medical mobility aids such as a mobility scooter are usually free to medical card holders. The card holder must first be assessed by the relevant occupational therapist or physiotherapist who can recommend and prescribe the most suitable equipment. Depending on the type of equipment required, a qualified therapist will make a recommendation to the body responsible for the provision of the equipment or to the agency who has requested the assessment. 

Typical HSE Assessment Process
  • Referral received for assessment for a Powered Mobility Equipment (PME) 
  • Medical assessment form sent to GP prior to assessment 
  • Completed medical assessment form returned from GP 
  • Home Visit – Environmental Assessment 
  • Other possible assessments may take place. The OT will likely assess your health and safety ability for driving a mobility scooter/powered wheelchair as well as assess how quick physical responses are. You may also be required to have an eye assessment. You will also be measured for the purposes of finding the most suitable mobility scooter/wheelchair for you.

Advice & Tips re Assessment

 - When being assessed by the OT you could emphasise that you only go out when at your best and not when cognitively impaired, and when function is more limited you do not go outside your home.

 - Emphasise that a powered chair will provide a quality of life and independence when you are out which has to date been unattainable, that you look forward to being able to get out in the community when you want to go out.

 - The assessment process and provisions may vary in different parts of the country. See more on HSE Policy re Provision of Powered Mobility Equipment (PME) for Adults.

 - The HSE won't give a powerchair to someone if they are cognitively impaired. It’s a matter of ‘are you safe to drive’/a liability issue. 

More Information about HSE Assessment and Provision of Mobility Aids

  • The HSE generally supply the heavy type of scooter which are only suitable for taxis and mini buses with ramps where you may have to sit on the scooter/wheelchair during the journey. Some portable scooters are more expensive so that may be the issue with poor choice. 
  • HSE may assume you have someone to lift a heavy scooter/powered wheelchair to and from a car so make sure that you can get a mobility aid that you or your carer can manage, a lighter one for example, or one that comes apart or folds. Some OTs may tell you that the HSE don't provide lighter mobility scooters but this seems to depend on the rep that comes out and also on the area you live in, i.e., which CHO area you are in.
  • There may be other relevant criteria brought up, e.g. whether you drive a car or not may affect the outcome. Feedback has shown that those who mention owning or driving a car can be turned down getting a mobility scooter/powered wheelchair, perhaps because the assessor assumes that the person can get about in a car, they may not realise the other difficulties people with disabilities have getting around on foot. 
  • It is advisable not to put in any application or say during an OT assessment that you can walk any distance especially if you have difficulties walking/being upright or need to recover afterwards - it may be that you can only walk a very short distance sometimes and this could be misleading. Don't forget to consider your worst periods with illness and disabilities and focus on those.
  • Guide the occupational therapist fully re what it is you need and let them know about you and your needs and circumstances. What they suggest may not suit you so tell them that and they will take your needs into account more. At the end of the day an assessment is not just about getting a mobility aid, it is about the person getting an aid that is completely suitable for their needs.
  • The Occupational Therapist usually sends a form to your GP to complete on your behalf. You may need to check up on your GP to make sure they have returned the completed form, especially if you feel that there is a delay your GP's end. 

  • The process from application to obtaining a mobility aid is quite long so be prepared for a long wait. It seems to depend on the CHO area and on funds and resources available. 

  • It may be possible to get a temporary mobility aid while you wait. Feedback tells us that some people received a manual wheelchair/other device while waiting. Renting devices privately may also be an option.

  • The choices of mobility scooters/powered wheelchairs available from the HSE is small, you may have to look at alternative ways to obtain one that suits you, e.g., buying a second hand one or paying for a new one privately.

  • You may need to adapt your home in some way to make it suitable for a mobilty aid as large as a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair. 

  • Temporary ramps to access your home via mobility aid may not satisfy the HSE criteria so you may have to put in a permanent ramp. This may depend on the assessor/CHO area and the mobility aid you decide on. It should be a straightforward adaptation, not too complicated.

  • Consider applying for the housing mobility grant if the doorways in your home will be an issue, you need a GP's letter for such an application.

  • The mobility aid you receive via the HSE remains the property of the HSE but you would have it indefinitely unless your circumstances changed.

  • You will likely be told by the occupational therapist that you would need to complete lessons before you use a new mobility aid when out and about. The therapist will explain more.

  • You may also have to do a cognitive assesment with the OT in addition to and as part of the overall assessement for a mobility aid.

  • The HSE/supplier usually have a breakdown and repair service for the mobility aid they supply to you. Make sure to get the details re same from the OT.

  • When considering a mobility scooter/powered wheelchair check the height of the base from the ground. Some can be only 1” high which is fine in a shopping centre or on flat even surface, but may not be practical in a village, at a park, or when dealing with kerbs etc, it may cause an issue.

An account of the lengthy process to get a powered wheelchair via the HSE, from the initial application to obtaining it, based on personal feedback from an adult with severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). 

I first applied in October 2016. I rang up for an appointment for the OT service at my local HSE health office. My GP had said I could self-refer. 
Next I received a followup phone call notifying me that there was a backlog seeing new applicants and I was told that it could be 12-18 months before I would be seen and assessed. Waiting times could vary depending on different local health centres.
I was eventually assessed in February 2019. The occupational therapist came out and spent a good while asking me about my severity and disabilities related to my illness ME.
She came out a second time to do another assessment before deciding a powered mobility device would be suitable for me. She then arranged for me to go to a HSE office where I tried out a mobility scooter and a powered wheelchair. 
There was very little choice available. The mobility scooter was one of the very heavy ones and was also very big so not suitable for going into a small/tight indoor environment. 
There was also only one type of powered wheelchair available. I emphasised that a powered wheelchair would be more suitable for me as I wouldn’t have the ability to walk around much inside shops or other buildings. 
I was told that provision of an electric wheelchair would depend on when funds became available.  I was also advised that my home would need to be adapted in some way so that I could bring the powered wheelchair inside to be stored and charged. 
The OT highlighted that temporary ramps would not satisfy the HSE criterion. The most suitable entry point was the side door to the back garden so we got a mini ramp put in.
In the meantime, the OT suggested a lighter weight manual wheelchair for me to use until the powered wheelchair would be ready, that was delivered within a couple of months. 

As  part of my assessment the OT sent a form to my GP to be completed on my behalf. There was an admin fee for this at my doctor's practice. My doctor suggested that I do an up-to- date eye test to complete a section on my form, so I arranged an eye test with my usual optician and they forwarded the report to my GP. 

The next step was another visit by the occupational therapist where I had to do a cognitive assessment. It was simple and straightforward. Unless one had dementia or a cognitive impairment, they would generally pass the cognitive test.

Weeks later the occupational therapist rang up to say that they had approved funding for the powered wheelchair and made an appointment for me to be measured and to try out a wheelchair model. 
Next, the occupational therapist came out with a salesman from a wheelchair supplier who demonstrated how to use a powered wheelchair and got me to try it out outside within the garden path area of my home. 
A few weeks later my powered wheelchair was delivered. I was informed that the wheelchair would remain the property of the HSE but I would have it indefinitely unless my circumstances changed. 
I was also told that I would need to complete lessons before I would be allowed to use it outside the perimeter of my home. Over the following weeks I had a series of lessons and practised driving between the sessions.  
The first accompanied lesson was just within the boundaries outside of my home, then I went around the local green and practised going up and down curbs. I also went into shops in the village near me and used the lift there. I also went into the local train station. 
The OT had asked me at various stages where I wanted to go. She explained that HSE OTs didn’t go on buses and that Dublin Bus had a free service where they would accompany someone for some trips until they felt confident going on buses unaccompanied. 
The HSE process is a long one, it would probably be too long for someone who urgently needs to get about independently. The time from application to receiving the mobility aid varies, it depends on the area you are in and funds available.
Some of the benefits I experienced applying for a mobility aid via the HSE:
- the training process
- the breakdown service available
- the repair service available. There are 2 aspects to this: you can ring up whenever you are having a problem and someone will come and fix your mobility scooter/powered wheelchair. There may be an automatic review service where every couple of years the appliance will be taken to be serviced. 
The powered wheelchair I now have from the HSE is very large and heavy (approx. 10 stone) and can’t be disassembled into smaller parts. It suits me for what I want to do and it has a great tilt function.”

More Tips for when applying for a Mobility Scooter/Powered Wheelchair:
  • Try something lightweight that can be transported. 
  • Check if it can be taken apart/folded
  • Check the weight of the heaviest item taken apart to see what you or carers can cope with.
  • Check for hoists and ramps etc that could be used with cars to help lift mobility aids in and out of the boot of a car, etc.
  • Some mobility machines like a scooter may be too big for the car and too big for using around a house.
  • Check if it has 2 gearsets, one for indoor the other for outdoor. 
  • The wider the diameter of the wheels the more stable the scooter and the thicker the tyres the better.
  • Make sure that you are going to feel safe and visible. 
  • Check if repairs and maintenance are available. 
  • Portable scooters are very heavy to carry.
  • Consider that you may have to charge batteries as soon as possible after each outing.
  • Mobility scooters will need regular maintenance
  • Dublin Bus gives lessons to scooter users re getting on and off the buses. You need to contact them yourself.
  • Check if the electric wheelchair has tilt-in-space for when you want to rest. Also check for elevating legrests.
  • Ramps - If you are a wheelchair or mobility scooter user then more than likely you would need an access ramp at some stage. Ramps can be used in a variety of different circumstances and have multiple purposes. There are portable ramps and small ones for over doorsteps etc you can find online. 
  • You may want to think about storage when it comes to getting a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, you will need an area to store it indoors safely e.g., in the hall/other place.

Buying a Mobility Aid e.g. Mobility Scooter/Powered Wheelchair

Private purchase may be necessary if the user is not eligible to obtain the necessary equipment from the local health services. Some people may also choose to buy privately because they want the wider choice of equipment available on the private market. 
Before buying, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an occupational therapist on the suitability of the mobility scooter/powered wheelchair to your needs. 
It is recommended you try out and compare a range of vehicles from different suppliers if possible.You can arrange to visit a supplier’s showroom (if they have one) and most will have a website with details of their products and services. See list of suppliers further down.

Some companies/suppliers will give equipment for a try-out period before purchase. Enquiries should also be made about maintenance (if it will be required), maintenance contracts (if relevant) and whether a user manual is provided with the equipment (essential).

When purchasing from any supplier, it is important to remember that it is their business to sell. There may be several suppliers of that particular piece of equipment or different manufacturers of the same type of equipment, so always shop around.

The purchaser has the option of:

  • personally funding the cost of the equipment,
  • applying to charities, etc for funding,
  • buying second-hand,
  • checking with your health insurance company, if a member, to see if, or what, reimbursement is available (more further below on this)

Occupational Therapist Support for Private Purchase

It is up to people themselves whether they want to get the opinion of an occupational therapist (OT) before buying a mobility aid privately. Occupational therapists in private practice can carry out assessments in the home or workplace, and if home modifications are being considered, provide a report detailing the recommendations. It is important to ensure the therapist is experienced in relation to your particular needs. Make sure to discuss fees before engaging anyone’s services, and also check what the assessment fee includes (or does not include). 

The OT profession’s representative body, the Association of Occupational Therapists in Ireland (AOTI), keeps a list of contact details of member occupational therapists working in private practice in Ireland. To find a private occupational therapist contact the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland or consult the database on its Website: aoti.ie 
Address: Office 201,18 Herbert Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: +353 (01) 874 8136
Email: info@aoti.ie 

Tips for Buying a Mobility Scooter/Powered Wheelchair

  • Try something lightweight that can be transported. 
  • Check if it can be taken apart/folded
  • Check the weight of the heaviest item taken apart to see what people can cope with.
  • Check for hoists and ramps etc that could be used with cars to help lift mobility aids in and out of the boot of a car, etc.
  • Some mobility machines like a scooter may be too big for the car and too big for using around a home.
  • One option to buying would be to rent for a period. Mobility scooters are also sometimes sold second-hand online e.g. on Done Deal. Not only does this mean that one has options in terms of getting them cheaper than a new one but one could also try to sell it if a particular model didn’t work out.
  • Check if it has 2 gears, one for indoor the other for outdoor. The wider the diameter of the wheels the more stable the scooter and the thicker the tyres the better.
  • Check if repairs and maintenance are available. 
  • Portable mobility scooters are very heavy to lift and carry.
  • Consider that you may have to charge batteries as soon as possible after each outing
  • Transportable scooters will need regular maintenance.
  • Dublin Bus gives lessons to scooter users on getting on and off the buses. Ypu need to contact them yourself.
  • Sometimes your medical Insurer may give grants towards your purchase.
  • Check if the electric wheelchair has power tilt-in-space for when you want to rest. Also check for elevating legrests.
  • Ramps - If you are a wheelchair or mobility scooter user then more than likely you would need an access ramp at some stage. Ramps can be used in a variety of different circumstances and have multiple purposes. There are portable ramps and small ones for over doorsteps etc you will find online. 
  • You may want to think about storage when it comes to getting a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, an area to store it indoors safely in your hall/other place.
  • It may be possible to have repairs or parts replaced on a mobility aid such as a scooter depending on the supplier, it is worth checking out when buying and finding out who does the repairs.
  • Also some suppliers, depending on where you make a purchase may sell you a mobility aid with a tax exemption, I think it depends on where you buy from. The supplier would email a tax exemtion form, you fill out the declaration section, sign and send back to the supplier. See more here
  • The Importation of Goods for people with Disabilities, information here
  • When considering a mobility scooter/powered wheelchair check the height of the base from the ground. Some can be only 1” high which is fine in a shopping centre or on flat even surface, but may not be practical in a village, at a park, or when dealing with kerbs etc, it may cause an issue.

Different Types of Mobility Scooters & Powered Wheelchairs Available & Where to Buy/Rent 

  • Go Mobility on Airton Road in Tallaght have a very good website and give quite an amount of information and advice on Electric Mobility Scooters. Website here

  • Mobility Hire provides a rental service of mobility equipment throughout Ireland. With a comprehensive booking system including text reminders and the ability to extend your rental online, it really is a simple and easy process. Offering a delivery service throughout Ireland and a click and collect facility from our office in Tallaght, Dublin 24 and Talbot Street, Dublin 1. They have a home demonstration service for all their mobility scooters. No matter where you are in Ireland, they can call out and demonstrate a vast range of mobility scooters in the comfort of your own home. To avail of the home demonstration service, all you need to do is call on 01 866 336 See more here

  • Shop Mobility Equipment Rental are another mobility equipment rental service. 'All our outlets are now offering a hire service for Manual Wheelchairs & Mobility Scooters. So if you are planning a holiday or short break in Ireland or abroad consider renting a mobility scooter or manual wheelchair. Ideal for family or friends visiting that have mobility problems.' See more here

  • Shop Mobility  - Support While Shopping - Some shopping centres provide a mobility aids service for free. In order to use the service clients must join as a member of the Shopmobility scheme and to do so must be able to prove their identity by producing 2 types of ID (proof of address and signature). No deposit is required and customers will be given a membership card that must be produced every time they use the service. More here

  • A Pride GoGo Elite Traveller Plus mobility scooter will pull apart to go in any car, easy to use, slightly higher off the ground than most & longer battery life (18 amp hour batteries) and a bit longer between seat and steering for legs (or luggage!) Current cost circa £630 in the north and VAT exempt. Cost in the south vastly more. It can be used inside with standard doors. Great to take on a plane and goes into a tiny car boot with careful packing, but much easier in an adapted vehicle.  £100+ to replace battery. Available in shops like Murrays Medical in Dublin, see more here

  • Travelscoot seems to be the most reliable and lightest scooter on the market, as per patient feedback. Some people with ME who can no longer get around as well as they used to use it to go everywhere inside and outside the house, to shops, inside other buildings and for going for long drives in nature. You can fold it up and put it in the boot of the car, it is lightweight and foldable, fits into the boot of any car and handles a bit of rougher terrain. The folding mechanism allows the scooter to be folded flat enough to fit in practically any car trunk with the push of a button. The entire seat assembly and support can be removed by simply releasing a single lever clamp, and, if necessary, be taken down further into three components. For more details including a testimonial page see here

Patient Feedback 
 'I bought my Travelscoot from the EU site. I think they are made in Germany - the inventor is German anyway. I had one thing go wrong, and it was replaced quickly and without fuss. Otherwise my little scoot has been trouble free and straight forward'.

'It is worth paying for a lithium battery as they are lighter and don't deteriorate over time like traditional batteries. I use it about 10-30 mins a day for school runs andI have never needed a spare battery.' 

  • Lightweight Mobility Scooter The main advantage to a lightweight mobility scooter is that it can be broken down into 5 parts none of which are heavy (the heaviest is 11 kg) and then transported in the boot of a car in quite a small space. Here's how how the lightweight mobility scooter can be broken down to transport via link and here’s the manual

  • Wheelchair 88 Information here (not Irish)

  • Demo Van have a shop in Foulksmills, Co. Wexford. If you have difficulty getting to them Demo Van can visit you in your home for your convenience. Simply call with your requirements and their Demo Van will bring a selection of products to meet your needs. Geographically the Demo Van can only cover Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Carlow, Wexford Waterford and Kilkenny. More here

Patient Feedback 
'I got the GoGo Elite Traveller LX because of its range (20 km), features like light, good ground clearance, etc. Can be easily disassembled and assembled, to fit in (large) car boot or easy transport in plane. I’d say the above are the main things to look out for. This company has a demo van and you can try the scooters in front of your house, which is a bit more realistic than in a shop.'

  • Murrays Medical Equipment, medical suppliers in Ireland have an excellent website with various mobility aids and devices and lots of images, advice, and reviews, see more here

  • Benoit Systemes - Various lightweight removable power packs for wheelchairs with options to choose the model that suits you, designed for all manual wheelchair users, whether occasional, temporary or permanent. These power packs are quite expensive, as are other devices mentioned previously.  https://benoitsystemes.com/en/motorisation-legere.php



  • Disability Resource Centre - There is a disability resource centre in Dublin where aids and equipment suitable for people with a disability can be examined and tried out. The centre can be contacted at (01) 8747503.

Most suppliers of assistive technology like the suppliers mentioned above have their own websites which usually contain information pages about aids and appliances with lots of tips and advice, choices of products, images, videos and more, in fact going directly to a supplier's page can provide you with a lot of information you may want to know, as well as tesimonials from others. You can browse products online and buy online. Some suppliers also have retail shops.
To find more suppliers, search using keywords 'aids and appliances', 'aids for daily living' or 'mobility aids' in your browser. 
To check if there is a supplier near you add your town/city name when searching.

Claim for VAT Refund 

Value-Added Tax (VAT) charged and paid within the Republic of Ireland may be reclaimed on certain aids and appliances and housing adaptions used by people with disabilities. The relief applies to VAT on the purchase of aids and appliances designed to assist people with disabilities.  

How to reclaim VAT on aids and appliances for persons with disabilities here and here.

Private Health Insurance Schemes

Some health insurance policies provide members with cover for a limited number of aids and appliances under their outpatient schemes. A list of approved appliances is available on request. A claim for the reimbursement (part or full) will be subject to a member’s outpatient excess. Medical certification is usually necessary. Contact your health insurance company’s customer services to check if a particular appliance is covered by your policy.

The main companies offering private health insurance in Ireland are:

Voluntary Health Insurance (VHI)

Irish Life Health

Laya Healthcare



Did you know that a Shopmobility scheme operates in 

  • Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Clondalkin, 
  • Blanchardstown Shopping Centre in Dublin 15, 
  • Mahon Point Shopping Centre in Cork, 
  • Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin and Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare. 
This scheme enables anyone to get the loan of a manual wheelchair, a powered wheelchair or a powered scooter while shopping. It is a free service and helpful for anyone who finds shopping difficult. To avail of this service, you must have two pieces of identification with you including photo ID. It is advisable to ring beforehand, particularly coming up to a holiday period or a bank holiday weekend. 
Some other shopping centres also have manual wheelchairs that they loan out to customers. Contact Customer Services of the shopping centre to check on the availability of this service. More here

Further Information

 -  'Thinking Disabilities'
There is a broad amount of information available re mobility scooters etc on the internet, inparticular on the websites of suppliers and retailers. One supportive set up that are very good is Thinking Disabilities which has much more useful information, including useful contacts, e.g. The VAT Payments Section, The Wheelchair Association etc. Please go to title headings to see the choice of topics.

 - Am I entitled to a mobility aid/appliance free of charge? Answers from the Irish Wheelchair Association via the link here.

 - Assistive Technology - The Alzheimers Society of Ireland's booklet which I skimmed through has very good ideas re assistive technology that may include something useful for some people in the ME community, especially those with severe ME, see more here.

 The Disabled Living Foundation (UK) publishes factsheets on some of the equipment available to help with daily living. The factsheets provide advice on adapting your home and information on daily living equipment such as what to look for when choosing equipment. Some information may apply to UK only but there are lots of topics and ideas. Click on the foundation name above to access their web pages.

 - Claim for VAT Refund - Value-Added Tax (VAT) charged and paid within the Republic of Ireland may be reclaimed on certain aids and appliances used by persons with disabilities. More here and here.

 -  Find a Private Occupational TherapistIrish Association of Occupational Therapists

 -  Find a Private Physiotherapist – Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

 - Information on Hoists & Slings for Lifting People with Disabilities - here

 - Apply for an NAS Advocate to Act on your Behalf  It is by no means an easy task to apply for or buy a mobility device when unwell and/or disabled. If you are not able to do such a task yourself and do not have the support of family or friends to assist you, you could apply to the National Advocacy Service (NAS) to have an advocate to support you. The National Advocacy Service (NAS) is an organisation which helps adults with disabilities. NAS provides a free and confidential advocacy service to adults with a disability, aged 18 years and over.

See more information here, NAS Easy-To-Read-Guide here and access the online application form here

 -  HSE Prescribing Guidance Manual for Aids & Appliances for Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) updated in 2021 hereMany of the suppliers listed further above sell/rent a broad variety of useful aids and devices. It is worth browsing the entire HSE manual, you may see aids and devices you have never thought about or realised exist, aids that could make a great difference to you and to your independence. 

 - The National Disability Authority (NDA) is the independent statutory body, providing evidence-based advice and research to Government on disability policy and practice and promoting Universal Design. More here.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is classified as a neurological illness since 1969 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) ICD G93.3

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) Classifications:

  • WHO Classification ICD 10 G93.3 classified as a Neurological disorder

  • WHO Classification ICD 11 8E49 classified as a Neurological disorder 

  • SNOMED Classification SCTID: 118940003 classified as a disorder of the nervous system 

  • NASS (HRB) G93.3

MEAI's Pre-Budget 2024 Submission here

Many thanks to members of the ME community for your valuable feedback in relation to your obtaining and use of certain mobility devices and aids, in particular to the individual who provided feedback on which the story re applying for a powered wheelchair via the HSE is based.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the post or the information, products, services, etc contained in the post for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.There are hazards with all equipment and the suitability of any solution is totally dependent on the individual. It is strongly recommended to seek professional advice and assistance before you consider obtaining and using any type of medical equipment mentioned in this post. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
Every effort is made to keep the details re HSE services in our posts up to date. Please keep an eye out for updates.

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