Disability equipment can range from simple daily living aids such as cordless kettle tippers, easy tap turners and gripping aids to help open tight bottles and jars through to more complex items such as specialist beds and stair climbers. Mobility equipment can include items such as walking sticks, wheelchairs and scooters.
If you are looking for information on how to adapt your home to make it more accessible, contact us or see our Disabled Home Adaptations information guide
Where can I get equipment from?
There are a variety of ways you can get equipment including:
- your local council or National Health Service (NHS)
- buying privately with your own funds from a shop or charity
- hiring equipment perhaps for a shorter term need.
Local councils and the NHS Your local council’s Social Work department and NHS can provide equipment to individuals, following an assessment of your care needs. This is sometimes referred to as community care assessment.
For further information see our information guide on An Assessment on Needs
Will I have to pay for the services?
The assessment of your care needs is free and any services or equipment supplied by the NHS is free. However if you have been assessed as needing Social Work services, some of these may be charged for, and the Social Work department will carry out a financial assessment to determine how much you will have to pay.
What if I disagree with the assessment?
If you are unhappy with the way the assessment has been carried out, or with the outcome of the assessment, there are several things that you can do:
- Try speaking to the social work department to sort things out.
- If this doesn’t resolve the issue, ask your council for details on their complaints procedure.
- If this is unsuccessful, you could consider complaining to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
If want to make a complaint, it is helpful to get advice first from a service such as your local citizens advice bureau.
Buying disability equipment privately
There are many local disability aids and equipment shops throughout Scotland, where you can purchase specialist equipment. If your local area does not have a shop, there are also lots of online shops where you can purchase equipment directly from their websites.
To find out where your local disability aids and equipment shop is, either call us or search our Scottish Disability Directory.
If you’re looking for a specialist piece of equipment that’s not on the market, REMAP Scotland is a charity that designs, manufactures and supply individual equipment and adaptation solutions for disabled people where no commercial solutions currently exist.
Some goods and services that are bought specifically for use by a disabled person can be exempt from VAT. For more information contact us or visit our Claiming VAT exemption on disability products information guide.
Second hand equipment
Where can I find or advertise second hand disability equipment?
There are various ways to buy or sell second hand disability equipment:
- Buy or sell on the internet. There are a number of websites that can be used for finding or advertising second hand disability equipment. Always exercise caution when buying or selling online. Also buying privately does not give you as many consumer rights as buying from a trader.
- Advertise locally through a newspaper, community centre or local library.
- Checking with the disability supplier you bought the item from if they sell second hand or reconditioned equipment.
Where can I hire disability equipment?
The British Red Cross provide short-term loans of wheelchairs and other equipment such as backrests, bath seats, walking sticks and frames, commodes, bedpans and urinals at almost 1,000 outlets in the UK. To order a mobility aid online, find your local Red Cross office online or call 0844 871 11 11.
Some disability equipment shops may also hire out particular items. You will need to check directly with them.
If purchasing equipment independently, it is always advisable to get advice from a professional.
There are four independent living centres in Scotland (Falkirk, Dundee, Moray and Lothian). They host a permanent exhibition of products and equipment and professional staff are on hand to offer advice. Contact us for more information.
The Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) provide free, impartial information and advice on disability aids and equipment. Call the DLF helpline on 0300 999 0004 or use their AskSARA Guide. The DLF also produce two free online resources. Living Made Easy is an advice and information website about daily living equipment. AskSARA is an easy-to- use online self-help guide that is useful for people who are not sure what equipment might help.
Care Information Scotland provide a telephone and website service providing information about care services, which includes equipment and home adaptations, for older people living in Scotland. Their telephone number is 0800 011 3200.
Rica produce a range of consumer reports to help when purchasing equipment such as bathing and daily living aids, mobility aids and cars.
Information last updated on 5 June 2020. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.
If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.
Aids, Equipment & Adaptations:Frequently Asked Questions
Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:
How can I get an adaptation made to my house?
Housing adaptations can reduce the risk of accidents at home and promote independence.
If you are disabled, or someone in your home is disabled, you may get help with a wide range of adaptations to your home. Examples of adaptations include:
- Replacing a bath with a level access shower.
- Making it easier to get into and out of the house by widening doors or making a ramp.
- Fitting lower worktops in a kitchen.
Smaller adaptions can also be made, such as:
- Fitting a grab rail
- Provision of a shower chair
In most cases, as a starting point you should contact your local Social Work Department and ask for an Assessment of Needs, which is usually done by an Occupational Therapist (O.T.).
For further information see our Disabled Home Adaptations Information Guide.
Am I eligible for VAT relief on disability equipment?
In general, disabled people do not have to pay VAT on goods and services that are designed/ or adapted solely for use by disabled people. These goods and services are often called ‘zero-rated’ or ‘eligible for VAT relief’.
The majority of suppliers will know if their product has been specifically designed to help disabled people. They will offer their products free of VAT at the point of sale.
You’ll need to confirm in writing that you meet these conditions. Your supplier may give you a form for this.
Most suppliers will use the Notice 701/7 VAT relief for disabled people form.
For further information see our VAT Exemption for Disabled Goods Information Guide or call our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
I am going on holiday, how do I hire a mobility scooter or wheel chair when I am there?
If you are staying within the UK you can search for a Shop Mobility local to where you are going. Another option would be to search for local mobility equipment providers.
The Mobility Equipment Hire Direct is a one stop shop to hire a wide range of mobility equipment in a variety of destinations from anywhere in the world using your chosen currency and in your chosen language.
Helpline: 0300 323 9961
For further information on hiring equipment away from home check out our Accessible Holidays Information Guide
I’m struggling getting in and out of my bath, is there any support that I can get?
Often we get individuals phoning because they are struggling with getting in and out of their bath. The first step would be to contact your local social work department to arrange an Assessment of Needs. You might be eligible to get an adaptation, such as a walk in shower, made to your bathroom. For more information see our Assessment of Needs Information Guide.
Aids, Equipment & Adaptations:Search for Local Organisations
Our quick search tool can connect you to over 3000 service providers, suppliers and organisations supporting people across Scotland. To find support near you, simply enter your search term and select your local authority.