Recent news stories have highlighted mobility scooter safety and the need for greater regulation in the market. Kevin Snowball, Director of Simplyhealth Independent Living, comments on how mobility scooter users can stay safe by choosing a responsible retailer:
“Mobility Scooters offer thousands of people in the UK a lifeline to live independent lives. They’re a significant purchase, not only in financial terms, but in the difference they make to a person’s overall wellbeing. That’s why there has to be a responsible retailer checking that the right product is given to the right owner.”
“Mobility product retailers that are registered with the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) follow a code of conduct which has been approved by the Trading Standards Institute. By approaching these retailers, individuals can ask questions about the product to ensure it meets their needs.”
“It also allows the retailer to make sure that anyone purchasing a scooter is properly assessed to ensure they are capable of operating the vehicle safely, can see from a particular distance and can manoeuvre it with ease. Some retailers, such as Simplyhealth Independent Living, not only offer this service in store but in the comfort of a person’s home.”
“As well as purchasing from a responsible retailer, we recommend that individuals have their mobility scooter regularly serviced, as they would a car, to ensure it is road worthy and safe for use. Individuals rely on this product to get around, they can spend a great deal of time in it and therefore it’s important to ensure it’s always mechanically sound and safe.”
“Unlike car insurance, there’s no legal requirement to insure a scooter but we would advise people to take out cover. A person’s independence is invaluable so it makes sense to be insured against things like accident, theft or breakdown. Also if a mobility scooter user were to have a bump and ended up hurting someone or damaging their property, a claim could be brought against them. Comprehensive insurance policy allows peace of mind.”
“The key message here is that mobility scooters offer a lifeline but that individuals must take the necessary measures to protect themselves and by working with a responsible retailer, we can help them to do that.”
To help individuals source a responsible mobility product retailer, Simplyhealth has put together these top tips:
- Make sure the mobility product retailer is BHTA registered
- Always have an in-store or home assessment – this ensures the product suits your needs and supports your safety and the safety of others
- Avoid buying mobility products online as this doesn’t allow for an assessment of your needs and suitability of the product
- Most reputable business will have branded vehicles, a landline telephone number and in most incidences, a shop you can visit
- Remember, you are not obligated to purchase and you are not tied into any contract just because you request an assessment
- Report any companies who behave inappropriately to your local Trading Standards officer
Simplyhealth Independent Living has an Independent Living Centres in Andover plus seven others in Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Salford, Droitwich, Burnham and Norwich.
Their range can be viewed via the online store at www.simplyhealth.co.uk/store. Simplyhealth’s mobility consultants carry out free home assessments and demonstrations across the country.