Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has announced today that NHS services across the country are set to benefit from additional funding to improve prosthetic and rehabilitation services for ex-servicemen and women.
The Government is making £11 million available over the next two years to ensure veterans are able to access a high level of prosthetic and rehabilitation care - similar to that which the Armed Forces provides for men and women currently serving in the army, navy and air force.
Nine NHS facilities across the country will receive a share of up to £6.7 million of the funding. They will be able to use this specifically to access the latest technology and provide the highest quality of prosthetic care for veteran amputees.
Other services will benefit too - with a £1million fund to ensure that all prosthetics services across England improve. The remainder will go towards providing prosthetics.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:
“Ex-servicemen and women who have been injured in the line of duty deserve the very best possible care from the NHS. This is why we are making more funding available to improve veterans’ prosthetic limb services - and £22 million in total between 2010 and 2015 to support veterans’ physical and mental health.
“We want to ensure that our Armed Forces veterans have access to the very best healthcare services at specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation centres across the country. In time, these NHS centres will achieve the same high standards of care for veterans that are offered by Armed Forces rehabilitation centres, such as Headley Court.”
Today’s announcement is in response to recommendations made by Dr Andrew Murrison MP in a report - commissioned by the Prime Minister - about the provision of prosthetics for military amputees.
Dr Murrison recommended that a small number of multi-disciplinary centres should provide specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation services in England to ensure veterans have access to a similar, high quality of care to that which the Armed Forces provides.
Dr Jeff Lindsay, a Consultant in Amputee Rehabilitation at the West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said:
“Our aim is for ex-service men and women to maintain their level of independence, function and capabilities as they move from the military into civilian life.
“The additional funding will enable us to offer the highest possible standards of prosthetic provision and care for these brave men and women, as they leave the armed forces and their care is transferred to the NHS.
“Furthermore, the additional funding will help to enhance both the knowledge and skills of our expert staff and improve available facilities for the benefit all patients, both ex-servicemen and women and civilians alike.”
The additional funding and improvements that this will bring will mean that civilian amputees will also be able to benefit from advanced care in centres across the NHS in England.
The NHS Commissioning Board will work with military charities and the NHS to finalise the amount each service will receive.