Help with equipment, services and nursing home costs

Equipment to help you at home

You may need special equipment or aids to help you manage at home. For example, a raised toilet seat or hand rails. If your doctor or nurse agrees you need equipment, they can refer you to a social worker who can get these for you. Or you can contact your local social services or social work department directly. They can arrange for a social worker or occupational therapist to assess your needs. They may be able to supply what you need for free.

You can also get general advice and information about all types of equipment from the Disabled Living Foundation.

If you have problems using public transport, there are community transport schemes that could help.

If you have a long-term illness or are registered disabled, you don’t have to pay VAT on certain products. These are products that are designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use.

For example, you may not have to pay VAT on items to help your mobility, including:

  • cars
  • adjustable beds
  • stair lifts
  • wheelchairs
  • medical appliances to help with severe injuries
  • alarms
  • Braille paper or low-vision aids (but not glasses or contact lenses)
  • building work such as widening doors or installing ramps, lifts or toilets.

For more information, visit or call 0300 200 3700

Nursing home charges

People who are responsible for their own nursing home charges should check whether they are entitled to financial help. Speak to your healthcare professional or call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.

Back to Help with health costs


You may be eligible for free prescriptions if you have cancer. There are also other ways to help with the cost of medications.

Eye care

Some people may be able to get free eye tests. There are certain criteria that qualify you for free eyetests.

NHS Low income scheme

The Low Income Scheme may help people who still have to pay healthcare costs, but may be on a low income.