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NHS Assessments and Equipment only requests

NHS Assessments and Equipment only requests

ACE Centre has been commissioned by NHS England to act as a regional AAC Hub and deliver Specialised AAC Services in the North West and the Thames Valley and Wessex regions.

If a client meets the eligibility requirements (see below) and has their permanent home address in one of these two regions then you may make referrals to this service via ACE Centre. If the client lives outside these areas then please contact your local Hub for more information.

There are two pathways to provision of an appropriate powered communication aid within this service:‘Assessment and provision’ and ‘Equipment only request’. Both pathways provide equipment (AAC devices, specialist access solutions and mounting) and long-term equipment maintenance support.

Click on the relevant links below to download copies of key documents:

  • Current NHS eligibility criteria for Specialised AAC Services
  • Further information about these services and guidance on local AAC commissioning
  • Referral Form
  • Guidance Notes for completion of Referral Form
  • Equipment Only Request Form
  • Guidance Notes for completion of Equipment Only Request Form
  • If you have difficulty downloading of these documents, please contact our helpline on 0800 080 3115

    Completed Referral Forms and Equipment Only Request Forms should be sent to Steve McCormack at ACE Centre via:

    Email: smccormack@acecentre.org.uk

    Fax: 0161 358 0152, or

    Post: ACE Centre, Hollinwood Business Centre, Albert Street, Oldham OL8 3QL

    Eligibility criteria

    An individual who would access a specialist AAC service would have both of the following:
    • a severe/complex communication difficulty associated with a range of physical, cognitive, learning, or sensory deficits
    • a clear discrepancy between their level of understanding and their ability to speak

    In addition, an individual must:

    • be able to understand the purpose of a communication aid
    • have developed beyond cause and effect understanding

    and may:

    • have experience of using low tech AAC which is insufficient to enable them to realise their communicative potential

    An individual is excluded from accessing this service if they:

    • have pre-verbal communication skills
    • have not yet achieved cause and effect understanding
    • have impaired cognitive abilities that would prevent them from retaining information on how to use equipment

    Supporting national guidance on eligibility can be found here. You are encouraged to make contact with your local AAC team for support if individuals do not meet the eligibility criteria for specialised AAC services.

    Prioritisation

    Please note priority is given to those:

    • with a rapidly degenerative condition, e.g. MND, and efforts will be made to ensure these patients are assessed and / or provided with equipment as soon as is practically possible
    • who have communication aid equipment currently which has ceased to be functional or is significantly unreliable and does not meet their communication needs
    • facing a transition to a new sector / school / college / workplace environment or currently in rehabilitation provision
    • who are at risk of developing significant psychological / challenging behaviour as a consequence of their inability to communicate without a communication aid

    Please note the information provided is taken from the NHS service specifications document published by NHS England. You are welcome to read the full document here, and learn more about the National AAC Commissioning here.

    NHS ‘Equipment only’ request

    This pathway is for:

    • individuals who are competent and experienced in the use of a communication aid, but whose existing equipment is malfunctioning frequently or has ceased to work
    • and/or clients whose local AAC service and professionals have a significant level of AAC expertise and competency to provide a comprehensive assessment

    If a comprehensive and robust assessment has already been undertaken locally and the exact equipment requirements (including hardware, software and vocabulary packages) are known, and do NOT require mounting to a wheelchair, then an Equipment Only Request is appropriate.

    Please note:  Where the equipment requested DOES require mounting to a wheelchair, NHS England requires that a full specialist be carried out by an NHS Specialised AAC Service provider.  If this is the case, please complete a Referral Form.

    Guidance Notes to support the completion of an Equipment Only Request Form are available.  We strongly recommend that you refer to this document when completing the Equipment Only Request as failure to provide adequate information will delay the processing of your application.

  • Click here to download an Equipment Only Request Form

  • Click here to download Guidance Notes

  • Completed forms should be sent to Steve McCormack by:

    Email:  smccormack@acecentre.org.uk

    Fax: 0161 358 0152, or

    Post: ACE Centre, Hollinwood Business Centre, Albert Street, Hollinwood, Oldham OL8 3QL

    ACE Centre will acknowledge all requests in writing within 10 days of receipt.  The acknowledgment will be sent to the main contact and will advise on the client’s eligibility for the requested service or notify the main contact that further information is required.

    NHS Assessment and provision referrals

    If you require an assessment for a powered communication aid, access and mounting solution, you may make a referral to our service using the Referral Form.  

    Guidance Notes to support the completion of the Referral Form are available.  We strongly recommend that you refer to this document when completing the Referral Form as failure to provide adequate information will delay the processing of your application.

  • Click here to download a Referral Form

  • Click here to download Guidance Notes

  • Completed forms should be sent to Steve McCormack by:

    Email:  smccormack@acecentre.org.uk

    Fax: 0161 358 0152, or

    Post: ACE Centre, Hollinwood Business Centre, Albert Street, Hollinwood, Oldham OL8 3QL

    ACE Centre will acknowledge all referrals in writing within 10 days of receipt.  The acknowledgment will be sent to the main contact and will advise on the client’s eligibility for the requested service or notify the main contact that further information is required.