Are Mobility Scooters Allowed In Hospitals?

In this article, we’ll discuss the answer to the question: “Are mobility scooters allowed in hospitals?”

To answer that question, we’ll look at what the law in the UK says about this (if anything), and what individual hospitals have to say about it.

We’ll check out the factors that affect whether a mobility scooter is likely to be allowed inside. Things like size, weight and turning radius are important here.

Let’s get on with it, then!

are mobility scooters allowed in hospitals

Mobility Scooters In Hospitals – The Lowdown

Firstly, let’s check out what UK law says about this.

UK Law – Mobility Scooters Access To Hospitals

There’s no specific law in the UK that says mobility scooters must be allowed in hospitals.

However, in 2022 the law has a lot more to say on the rights of disabled people regarding access to public places, compared to 20 or 30 years ago.

Now there is a specific UK legislation that describes what companies and organisations must do to accommodate people with mobility issues.

We’ve already analysed whether scooters are allowed in shops and supermarkets, as well as scooters’ accessibility on trains and bus access laws and rules.

The Equality Act 2010

This Act has the purpose of preventing discrimination against disabled people, among other groups.

That includes allowing as much access as can reasonably be achieved to things such as transport, education and services and facilities.

Any company, organization or government department that has responsibility for hospitals, therefore, must abide by this Act and provide reasonable access to disabled people.

They must provide policies, improve physical features (such as providing ramps) and offer additional services to improve access.

And there is a United Nations regulation, giving guidelines on this issue. The UK is signed up and must comply to this.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

To abide by this regulation, organisations must take steps to provide for the “greatest possible independence” of persons with disabilities.

And they must do so in the manner and time of their choice, at lowest possible cost.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

We’ve spoken already about the discrimination laws which are very clear – organisations, including hospital owners/overseers must provide as much access as reasonably possible for disabled people.

Since mobility scooters are a popular method of transport for people with mobility problems, hospitals must take steps to allow accessibility for them, where possible.

However, they also have health and safety laws that they must comply with.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is one such law.

Under this law, a mobility scooter can be classed as a fire hazard under certain conditions.

Some mobility scooters can be very large, heavy and difficult to easily manoeuvre. In the event of a fire, they could prevent or slow down the safe exit of people from the building.

All building owners must follow these laws, but in the case of hospitals it’s even more essential since there are many people in poor health and with mobility issues inside a hospital.

Balancing the Laws

Hospitals, then, must balance both of the following:

  1. the law providing for as much access as possible for disabled people; and
  2. health and safety laws, including fire regulations.

To balance their legal responsibilities, hospitals therefore will allow for disabled access where it doesn’t prevent a health and safety issue.

So they will take a nuanced approach. They will not say: “all mobility scooters of all sizes are always allowed in our hospitals” and neither will they say “no mobility scooter of any kind is allowed access into out hospital”.

So Are Mobility Scooters Allowed In Hospitals?

They are in some cases, but not in other cases. It depends on the following factors:

  • The size of the mobility scooter (some of the top mobility scooters are small and light – they’re more likely to be allowed).
  • The mobility scooter’s weight. This mLite mobility scooter for example, is super-light, and is more likely to be allowed. {Update May, 2023 – for analysis of an even lighter scooter, see this Super Handy mobility scooter review.}
  • The scooter’s turning circle (radius). That means how well it can manoeuvre in tight spaces.
  • The size of the hospitals entrances and exits.
  • The size of the corridors and rooms in the hospital.
  • How busy the hospital is.

You’re more likely to be allowed access into a hospital if your mobility scooter is a relatively small, Class 2 (pavement) scooter.

Here are our reviews and rankings of the top fold up, lightweight mobility scooters.

If you have a large, heavy Class 3 (road legal) scooter, it’s less likely to be allowed access to all areas of a hospital.

It depends also on the size of a hospital – it’s entrances and exits, and the corridor space.

For example, a larger Class 3 mobility scooter may be allowed into a large reception area but not into the inner corridors if space is quite confined, and it would therefore prevent a fire hazard.

In other cases, a large Class 3 mobility scooter may be allowed in to the corridors but not allowed into the lift. That’s because it may prevent other people from accessing the lift safely, or it may be too heavy.

It can also depend on how busy the hospital is. If it’s exceptionally busy, with very little space, it may be a health and safety issue to allow a mobility scooter in at that time.

Hospitals Mobility Scooter Policies

Some hospitals and NHS Trusts have a mobility scooter policy and some don’t.

Here’s an example.

Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust

This NHS Trust does have a Mobility Scooter Policy which must be followed in their buildings.

In this policy, they make it known that they’re aware of their duties under the Equality Act 2010.

But they also say that in some circumstances a mobility scooter inside their hospital may breach health and safety regulations.

For example, that the scooter itself can be a fire hazard. And that storage of mobility scooters in communal areas, like corridors increases the risk to the safety of people in the hospital.

And they state that there is a “risk to emergency services
when entering our buildings if communal areas are not kept clear”.

Taking these considerations onto account, here are a few of their rules:

  • You must drive your mobility scooter safely and responsibly and taking due care around other people
  • You must ride your scooter at its minimum speed setting (what are mobility scooter speed limits?)
  • Class 3 scooters are not allowed in lifts.

Wirral Community also say that they’ll provide reasonable, safe and viable storage options for the scooter, where possible.

Are Mobility Scooters Allowed In Hospitals: Summary

There you go, then. Hopefully, we’ve shed some light for you on the question: “Are mobility scooters allowed in hospitals?”.

As you read, there’s no specific law saying either that mobility scooters must be allowed or that they’re not allowed.

There are laws, however, saying that companies and bodies must take action to allow better accessibility for disabled people.

Equally, there are health and safety laws.

Hospitals, in essence, do allow mobility scooters in most circumstances and situations. But if they feel that it can cause a fire hazard, or some other significant safety risk, they have the right to refuse you access.

However, even if they do refuse access to your mobility scooter, they have some legal responsibility to provide you with alternative means to access the hospital, if it’s reasonable for them to do so.