Frequently asked questions


How can I be referred to the service for an assessment?

Referral to the service is required by a health care profession (eg: Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Welfare worker, GP) on the referral form. The person’s GP is also asked to complete a form to endorse the referral and provide additional information. An individual can request a referral on their behalf.

How long do I have to wait for the assessment?

Typically 6weeks from receipt of the GP form, but this may be more or less time depending on priority.  Priority is given to those living alone with no other means of door control or of calling for help, also according to the type of medical condition and rate of change.

Where and how does the assessment take place?

Assessment of Environmental Control needs is usually undertaken at the individual’s place of residence or other environment they wish to control.  Where relevant, some aspects can be assessed by visit to a school or a specialist rehabilitation centre.  The assessment can last up to an hour and a half and is undertaken by members of the RECES team, (including Occupational Therapist, Rehabilitation Engineers) who are specialist in EAT.  The referrer and other health professionals involved often also attend.

How long do I have to wait for the equipment to be installed?

Typically 6-8 weeks after the assessment if equipment provision is recommended.  However this may depend upon the arrangement of additional electrical sockets, locksmith services and permission from Housing Association or landlord.  In some instances, a preliminary EC provision will be made, whilst these are awaited.  For some PCTs approval of funding for each EC installation must be obtained before it can proceed.

How much does the equipment cost?

The Environmental control equipment is provided by the NHS on a free-of –charge loan basis to the individual.  This includes a Service and Maintenance contract with the supplier which covers all support aspect of the equipment.  However only essential functions assessed as required can be provided.
The NHS funding does not cover equipment or adaptations associated with the fabric of the building or end appliances, even though these may be controlled though an Environmental Control unit. Examples are powered door, window or curtain openers, profiling beds or chairs.

Is it difficult to operate the equipment?

A suitable means to operate the Environmental Control unit will be chosen for the individual user according to their functional abilities.   This can be reviewed and altered to accommodate changes in ability with the medical condition.

How long does it take to install the equipment?

Installation of a standard Environmental control system may take from a 3 to 6 hours depending on  the complexity of functions.  Where installation of intercoms or other fixed components are to be installed, this may extend into a second day.

What if I change my television or want to add more functions?

Any re-programming of the Environmental Control unit menus is covered by the Service & Maintenance contract with the suppler, who can be contacted directly to arrange this.
If the additional functions require installation of additional equipment units, then these will need to be ordered by the RECES service and will be considered according to the funding available and the priority of need.

Do I have to look after the equipment?

The equipment can be dusted or cleaned with a damp cloth.
Any fault or malfunction of the equipment should be reported to the contracted EC supplier who will seek to rectify the problem, within 48 hours for critical functions.  This is covered by the service & Maintenance contract funded by RECES, there will be no charge to the user.
If the equipment is subject to wilful damage, then replacement will be considered according to the funding available and the priority of need.  A re-assessment of equipment suitability may also be required.

What if I move address, can I take the equipment with me?

If the move is within the area covered by the RECES service, then we will arrange and fund the re-location to the new address. Re-assessment of the environmental control needs and some alternative or additional equipment may also be required.

If the move is to an address covered by a different NHS EC service, then a referral will be made to that service.  If they agree to take over responsibly for the equipment, then the portable equipment items can be relocated, and the remaining items collected for RECES.