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Powered communication aid funding

Patient information A-Z

A brief overview of funding options available

This leaflet is for health care professionals supporting adults and children who might benefit from a powered communication aid to support their communication.

The leaflet aims to provide a brief overview of funding routes available to access a technology-based communication system.

CASEE role

CASEE works with children and adults who, according to the National Health Service England (NHS England), meet the criteria to be seen by a Specialist Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Service. The NHS England criteria for access to a Specialist Augmentative and Alternative Communication Centre can be found here: Guidance for commissioning AAC services and equipment (opens in a new tab). In some cases, it may not be clear prior to CASEE assessment whether or not a person meets these NHSE criteria:

  • If following assessment, a person is felt to meet the NHS England criteria, CASEE may lend a suitable powered communication aid for a trial period. If on review, all agree that the system meets the person’s needs and has been beneficial; CASEE may lend that system to the person on a long-term loan basis.
  • If following assessment, there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that a person meets the NHS England criteria, CASEE will offer advice on what system may be the most suitable. In that case, there are other funding options to explore as outlined below. The CASEE team can supply supporting documentation where appropriate to support applications for funding from other sources.

Funding sources

Individual funding request (IFR)

A health care professional can make an individual funding request to the person’s local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). An IFR can be made by clinicians if you believe that your client’s clinical circumstances are exceptional and that they may receive benefit from a treatment/service that falls outside the range of treatments/services that the CCG has agreed to commission. The process for making an IFR can vary across areas. Clinicians should seek further support and direction from their line manager or local CCG website/contact.

Education authority

Funding sources might be available via local education authorities. Please contact your client’s education provider for details on how to access this funding which can vary from area to area. Please note that if equipment is funded via the education authority it is typically considered to belong to the education provider, and local arrangements may need to be made regarding use of the powered communication aid at home, during school holidays and if/when the client leaves the school/college.

Schools, colleges, universities and individuals are all able to apply for grants for education to support learning and additional education resources. Grants for education can be awarded for resources and services that are not available from statutory funding. See the section re: ‘charity funding’ below for more details.

Charity funding

There are a variety of charities you can consider contacting to fund a powered communication aid where appropriate. Each of these have their own criteria and some may be means tested. There are some general charities, for example, the Sequal Trust (The Sequal Trust (opens in a new tab)) who may be able to support you with funding or direct you to a more appropriate organisation.

There are also some condition-specific charities that may be able to loan or fund equipment, for example, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association (opens in a new tab) ).

Charities may also be available locally within a region, for example local Rotary Club/Lion Club/Round Table organisations, please contact local representatives or your local council for more information or you can search the charity register here: GOV.UK Search the charity register (opens in a new tab).

You can also contact Communication Matters, the national charity representing people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Communication Matters (opens in a new tab)

If you are considering applying for funding from one of the above sources, it is worth considering a management plan for the device. That is, consider how the equipment will be updated, maintained and repaired and who will be responsible for funding and organising this. The CASEE team is happy to offer advice on these considerations.

Overseas clients

If you have questions regarding funding options for clients from overseas who currently are living within the East Anglia region you can contact the Addenbrooke’s Overseas Patient Team on 01223 216999 who may be able to provide some useful information regarding eligibility for funding.

Contacts/further information

Please contact the CASEE Team with any queries regarding the contents of this leaflet, possible referrals or for advice regarding funding options.

Email the CASEE team.
Phone: 01223 349401

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Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151