Review into NHS prosthetics services for veterans launched

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Review into NHS prosthetics services for veterans launched

11th January 2011

A review into the prosthetics services provided by the NHS to Armed Forces veterans who have lost limbs on active duty has been launched.

The review will examine the effectiveness of NHS prosthetics services currently offered to veteran amputees and assess how these services can be strengthened to better provide for future demands.

"This is a welcome move by the government," said Mark McGhee, a specialist in cases involving trauma and military personnel. "It shows it is committed to providing for those who have served their country, ensuring they deservedly receive the best possible care from the NHS for the rest of their lives."

Armed Forces charities have informed the Department of Health that some veterans are concerned the NHS may not be as well equipped to provide prosthetic services - for those returning from active service with lost limbs - to the same degree of excellence as currently provided by the Defence Medical Service at Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre.

"It is very important that during and after their transition from military prosthetic care to that of the NHS, injured personnel experience as few discrepancies in their levels of care as possible," said Mark, an associate with Fentons Solicitors LLP. "The very real concerns military charities have raised with the Department of Health are testament to the incredible standards of excellence those returning injured from operations currently receive at Headley Court.

"The changes implemented by this review will hopefully remedy these concerns and reassure those involved that they will continue to receive the best prosthetic care available."

As well as gathering evidence on the current and future needs of veterans for prosthetics services, the review will examine costs as well as future funding for high specification, evidence-based prosthetics services within the NHS, with the possibility of designating centres of excellence for NHS prosthetics care.

Furthermore, it will assess the possible contribution of personal health budgets and the inclusion of these in continuing healthcare arrangements. It will also review how regional variations in services can be minimised and the role service charities can play in helping to meet the needs of veterans over and above that which the NHS alone can provide.

"The current postcode lottery in relation to amputee support groups and how the quality of prosthetic services varies across the country is unacceptable," said Mark. "That individuals in one part of the country receive vastly inferior prosthetic services to those in other areas is a disgrace.

"The government has a duty of care to these individuals. The gold standard in evidence at Headley Court needs to be reflected in NHS services right across the country. The unfortunate fact that not everyone who needs these services has access to the advanced products they deserve is something that needs to change."

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims involving catastrophic injuries such as amputation.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

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