Assistive Products List Survey 2020-21

UK AT working together to define the most essential assistive products in the nation today.

The first UK APL survey was run to help enable those using and developing assistive technology (AT) to contribute to a list of the most essential assistive products so that UK policymakers, users and service providers can plan, procure and provide them even more effectively than we already do. Assistive products promote greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks they were formerly unable to accomplish or had great difficulty accomplishing. They are in wide use every day in the UK, ranging widely from spectacles and hearing aids, orthotic shoes and wheelchairs to screen reading software and fall detectors. All of these products and many more are all forms of assistive technology (AT). 100 items were listed on the survey and were a broad selection of the many devices available and represent a model list from the WHO, which was used as a starting point for creating the first version of a UK specific list. 

39. White canes (folding or non-folding) ISO 12.39.03.jpg34. Spectacles for long distance ISO 22.03.06.jpg12. Electrical wheelchairs with postural support ISO 12.23.06.jpg26. Below knee lower limb prosthesis ISO 06.24.09.jpg56. Video communication devices.jpg52. Behind the ear hearing aids ISO 22.06.15.jpg98. Pressure relief cushions ISO 04.33.03.jpg
43. Screen reader for Smart Phone:tablet.jpg21. Hand splints (cock-up wrist immobilizer) ISO 06.06.12.jpg30. Adjustable walkers for children.jpeg68. Symbols generating software .png14. Foot orthoses (FO) 06.12.03.jpg91. Handrails and support rails 18.18.03.jpg


The idea of creating an APL for each nation came from the WHO as a way to highlight the unmet need for AT around the world in the same way that its Essential Medicines List (EML) initiative has successfully raised awareness of the need for equitable access to affordable medicines around the world. Each country is encouraged to develop a list of products that are considered most essential to their national need. What we need in the UK will be different from another country where the climate, geography and culture vary. By collating a national survey, we can find out what assistive products are important to us in the UK, across all areas of life such as education, rehabilitation, or medical care. For further information on assistive technology and the work begun at the WHO please click here:


GATE stands for the Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology which is a landmark WHO programme. To learn more click here: The WHO is a United Nations agency, it was established in 1948 after the Second World War and is tasked with taking care of the world’s health. It is based in Geneva and is a global organisation and the UK is a member of the WHO.

BATA was leading in this initial stage of a UK APL creation because we understand how vital assistive products and services are to almost every individual in the UK today. We think it is important to establish our national priorities by finding out how many people are using which assistive products and how can we improve access to the products and services around them. We connected with other UK stakeholders and began identifying the most essential products to the nation today and discussing the barriers to accessing AT and what gaps there are in the current system. 

The UK is only the third nation to carry out an APL survey and the first high-income country to do so. Britain is a world leader in disability rights and assistive technology.

The organisations taking part are shown by their logos in the image below. February 2021 UKAPL Stakeholder _low res Logos (1)-min.png

Initial organisational stakeholders aware of the initiative, met on 21st July 2020 and subsequently committed to supporting the UK APL roadmap. The goal was to bring together those using or connected to AT, to develop a list of assistive products that are essential for living a fully accessible life in the UK today. As a group of stakeholders, we hope to be a space for the voices of the UK AT ecosystem to hear each other’s concerns and work together to identify what barriers and gaps there are to accessing the most essential assistive products that people need in the UK.

This survey has now closed and the first zero draft list is being drawn up. Evidence will be passed to government departments and stakeholders continue to encourage policymakers to run a government-backed APL and further awareness of the importance of AT.

For further information about the 2020 UKAPL please contact Esther Dakin-Poole.