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Wheelchairs: Safety

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps the Government has taken to improve the safety of NHS wheelchairs. (192862)

Since June 1998, new wheelchairs which are classed as medical devices and placed on the market must carry the CE mark indicating conformity with the Medical Device Regulations.

Before applying the CE mark the manufacturer must ensure that all risks are removed or minimised and any residual risks are acceptable when weighed against the benefit to the user. The manufacturer must inform users of the residual risks by means of labelling on the device and/or warnings contained in the user information material.

Users, carers, healthcare professionals and others are encouraged to report any safety related problems to Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) via the MHRA electronic reporting system on their website or by verbal or written contact. This was reinforced in January 2008 with the issue of a new Medical Device Alert aimed specifically at raising the awareness of the need to report incidents involving any type of medical device. MHRA considers all reports received based on the level of risk and carries out investigations accordingly. Where appropriate the MHRA also works with or refers cases to other regulatory bodies in the United Kingdom such as trading standards and also liaises as necessary with other UK Government Departments and Competent Authorities within Europe and also with the United States, Canada, and Australia.