Environmental Controls

Electronic Assistive Technology (EAT) is a generic term that describes a range of equipment including environmental controls systems, communication aid equipment and equipment used for overcoming problems with accessing computer technology.


Eligibility for computer access systems is determined by service specification D01/S/c “Environmental Control Equipment for Patients with Complex Disability” and is commissioned directly by NHS England. Currently we are only able to provide this service to people whose GP is registered in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire or Lincolnshire (please note this excludes North Lincolnshire).

People who require access to this service need to meet the criteria set out in the service specification, that is:

  • Have significant physical disability, predominately with upper limb impairments that result in them being unable to use standard controls, for example remote-control handsets or telephones or computer mice, keyboards or touch screens
  • Cognitively and physically able to operate EC equipment consistently.
  • Able to demonstrate sustained motivation to use the EC equipment.
  • Where individuals have a variable condition (eg: a progressive neurological condition), the above criteria can be applied with regard to the person’s anticipated needs and abilities within a clinically appropriate time period. Referrals can be accepted on this basis.

The following exclusion criteria also apply to access to the service:

  • Where non-specialist solutions to the identified needs of the patient are available and appropriate for the individual.
  • Provision of equipment is inappropriate due to social, environmental or other circumstances.
  • Where the referred need is for equipment primarily for educational ICT or, employment ‘access to work’ requirement, then the referral will normally be referred to the relevant agencies for assessment and provision. Collaboration with these agencies may still be appropriate.

Systems Provided

Environmental control systems enable persons with complex disabilities to have control over a range of appliances installed around their home. Using their most reliable method of access (e.g. direct touch, switches, voice activation, eye gaze), users operate a central controller to access a range of peripheral devices.

In general these systems can offer access to the following areas of function:

  • Leisure: Devices such as a television, sound systems, Hi-Fis, computer access etc.
  • Communication: intercom systems, hands-free telephones. A number of controllers are also able to output speech, either through access to a number of phrases or an accessible keyboard, for those with communication difficulties. For those with more complex communication difficulties please consider
  • Comfort: radio controlled radiator valves, infrared light switches, control of the position of a chair or bed, curtain and blind control, and mains operation for devices such as lamps, fans, or heaters.
  • Security: pagers or call alarms, remote access to door openers, door release mechanisms.
  • In addition to providing a degree of independence for the user, these systems can also provide support for the family or carers as they are no longer solely responsible for ensuring the comfort of the patient. In some instances it can give additional confidence to enable a carer to leave the house for short periods of time without having to worry, as if anything happens the person at home can seek help immediately.

Items which cannot be provided under the Environmental Control Systems funding:

  • Any equipment that affects the fabric of the building, and would otherwise typically be funded through application to other funding sources, such as Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) or minor adaptation, including;
  • Door, window and curtain openers (including replacement door locking mechanisms)
  • Building adaptations
  • Electrical, joinery, carpentry or other minor adaptation
  • Equipment for monitoring and health needs:
  • Telecare equipment
  • Tele-health equipment
  • Tele-rehab equipment
  • Page turners
  • Neater eaters

Please note – we are no longer able to provide the following services which have been provided in the past:

  • Pagers except as part of an environmental control system (i.e. we cannot supply a pager on it’s own)
  • Door opening mechanisms
  • Telehealth services (including docobo and mem-x devices)


If you are working with someone you feel would benefit from a computer access assessment please download the form below and send by secure email to eats.lincoln@nhs.net or by post to Electronic Assistive Technology Service, Fen House, Fen Lane, North Hykeham, Lincoln, LN6 8UZ.


Download Referral Form

Environmental Control Service Referral Form
« Return to 'For Clinicians'

Get in contact

Electronic Assistive Technology Service
Fen House, Fen Lane
North Hykeham

Email: eats.lincoln@nhs.net
Phone: 01522 572820

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