Regional Medical Physics

Rehabilitation Engineering and Aids to Living

The Rehabilitation Engineering and Aids to Living service (REAL) evaluates equipment and technology to improve the lives of disabled people.

Our Bio-Engineers, Clinical Scientists and Technologists prescribe, design or customize mechanical, electronic and specialist IT equipment to improve our clients’ physical, mental and social well-being.

What we do in REAL

Based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, REAL offers a service to hospitals and oter healthcare providers across the North. Every day, we work to solve highly complex problems to help patients live a more fulfilling and rewarding life.

Our aim is to maintain or increase our clients’ independence, and delay the need for hospital or institutional care. We also work to secure early discharge from hospital or to reduce our clients’ dependence on community care.

We often work as part of a team with other medical professionals, or independently having direct contact with patients.

We provide three main services:

  • Regional Rehabilitation Engineering and Mobility Service (RREMS): Clinical Technologists are based at the Freeman Hospital, the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, and Carlisle Infirmary. Our staff have direct ‘hands on’ contact with clients of all ages and disabilities, solving complex mobility problems and meeting specialised seating requirements. We assess clients for the provision of equipment and modify prescriptions to enhance the client’s comfort or mobility. We assess, prescribe and deliver all powered wheelchairs within the region, and powered wheelchairs can be pooled to be re-issued to other clients in the region. We conduct incident investigations of behalf of the District Wheelchair Services and report outcomes to the MHRA ( as appropriate. We also advise suppliers regarding the design of the range of equipment they provide.
  • Regional Technical Aids Service (RTAS): Our staff in Newcastle and Durham deal with referrals from therapists and GPs for clients in Teesside, Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. We also cover Cumbria in partnership with a service based at Cumberland Infirmary. We support hospital-based services such as the Home Ventilation Service and wards where discharge of a patient depends on adapted equipment. We support the Regional Communication Aid Service for mounting communication aids and switches, specialist technical support to RREMS, and a computer access assessment service for patients. We modify, design and supply alternative equipment when standard equipment does not meet a client’s needs. This includes: feeding aids, toileting aids, electronic assistive technology, walking aids, mobility aids, safe sleeping areas, and stair gates for children or adults with dementia. We provide these services to clients either in their home or at a clinic.
  • The Gait Analysis Unit [LINK TO THE UNIT] provides specialist gait assessment for surgery, primarily to help manage cerebral palsy in children, and orthotic assessment (using devices to re-align parts of the body).
  • Mechanical Engineering Services (MES): We design, manufacture and provide support for other medical services in hospitals. This includes equipment for treatments and unique devices to improve treatment, imaging and quality assurance. Our workshop at the Freeman Hospital is equipped with some of the latest computer controlled manufacturing facilities, and helps us to respond quickly to problems. Our staff have high quality manufacturing skills using a wide range of materials.

Wheelchair fitted with rotating communication aid

Contact us

For more details about our services, please get in touch with the relevant contact below:

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