News story

Review into NHS prosthetics services for veterans launched

A review into the prosthetics services provided by the NHS to Armed Forces veterans who have lost limbs on active duty, was launched yesterday, 3 January 2011, by the Health Minister, Simon Burns.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Service charities have informed the Department of Health that some Armed Forces leavers are concerned that the NHS may not be adequately equipped to provide prosthetic services to veterans to the same standard currently provided by the Defence Medical Service at Headley Court.

Those who have served their country deserve the best possible care from the NHS for the rest of their lives and the Government is committed to making this happen.

That is why the Government has launched a review, to be lead by Dr Andrew Murrison MP, into the prosthetic services currently offered to veterans by the NHS, and assess how these can be strengthened to meet future demands on the service.

The review will gather evidence on the current and future needs of veterans for prosthetics services, and on the provision and cost of services. It will also look at:

• the future funding of high specification, evidence-based prosthetics; services within the NHS and the possible contribution of personal health budgets and the inclusion of these in continuing healthcare arrangements

• how regional variations in service can be minimised

• how the transition from the armed forces’ prosthetics care to the NHS can be improved; and > > • the role of Service charities in helping to meet the realistic needs of individuals over and above that which the NHS can provide.

Health Minister Simon Burns said:

I am grateful to the Service charities for bringing this to our attention. We remain firmly committed to ensuring that military personnel will continue to receive the standard of prostheses issued by the MOD at Headley Court when they are discharged.

Service personnel risk everything in the service of this country and the NHS must provide the first class care that these brave men and women rightly deserve and help to improve their health outcomes.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:

Britain owes a great debt to those members of the Armed Forces who have made sacrifices to keep our country safe. We have a duty to provide the highest levels of care to those injured in service throughout their lives. I am proud that the Government has set the gold standard in developing prosthetics for our troops at Headley Court, but our veterans deserve the same levels of care.

I welcome Dr Murrison’s report, which I hope will help us to deliver a more comprehensive approach to veterans’ care.

Dr Andrew Murrison MP said:

Following on from my assessment of mental health services for the Armed Forces and veterans and subsequent report, Fighting Fit, I am pleased to be taking forward this review, to look at the ongoing needs and provision of NHS service for veterans who have received prosthetics.

The provision of prosthetics service for the Armed Forces at Headley Court is recognised as exemplary and it is important to identify and understand possible issues that may arise for NHS providers or veterans when striving to maintain the same level of service in the future.

Dr Murrison will be calling on the experience and knowledge of the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (BLESMA) and Help for Heroes in taking this work forward, as well as the MOD, NHS and other Service charities.

Published 4 January 2011