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20 April 2016

New outreach clinic puts patients back in the driving seat

South East DriveAbility Team at Westham SurgeryA new DriveAbility clinic at Westham Surgery near Pevensey is helping patients get safely back on the road.

The South East DriveAbility Service, run by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, provides assessment and advice on driving, car adaptation and car choice for disabled drivers and passengers.

The team, which is already running a service in Uckfield and Bexhill, supports people who may need adaptations to get behind the wheel due to a health condition, injury or disability.

The service, based in Maidstone, Kent, is one of 17 centres in the UK providing assessment and advice on driving, car adaption and car choice for disabled, frail and elderly drivers and patients with dementia. They have a range of adaption equipment available, such as steering wheel and pedal aids and high technology driving controls. There are also two specially adapted wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Sue Rogers and Kevin ReaderConsultant Practitioner and Centre Manager, Anuraj Varshney, said: “Our service in East Sussex is now well-established and we are thrilled to be able to provide the same assessment and care in Westham. The local clinic will make sure people do not have to travel a long way to get help and it is a great step towards having more driveability centres in East Sussex.

“The beauty of our service is that it is empowering. For many patients not being able to safely drive makes them feel very isolated and can contribute to a downward spiral in their health and wellbeing. Our expert therapists and instructors will take time to understand your needs and find a solution that works for you.

“We are able to give people with disabilities and restrictive medical conditions their freedom and independence back. We are passionate about keeping people safely on the roads and involved in their community.”

The DriveAbility service works with the Department for Transport (DfT), Motability and the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and provides assessment for driving ability, driving from a wheelchair and advice on adaptations. People can be referred from any of these agencies or can self-refer if they think they need help from the team.