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NHS failing in care of limbless military veterans

Review examines funding, improving prosthetics and access to services

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 04 January 2011

The government has launched a review following concerns voiced by service charities that the NHS is failing ex-service personnel who require prosthetic limbs.

The charities have told the Department of Health that the NHS is not providing a service to some veterans that is of the standard currently provided by the Defence Medical Service at Headley Court.

The review to be lead by Dr Andrew Murrison MP, 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.

Dr Murrison 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.

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