Sunday, January 2, 2011

Britain to review NHS care of amputee veterans

From BBC News:

A review of how the NHS cares for former British service personnel who lost limbs on active duty has been launched by the government.

Armed forces charities say the civilian health service is not adequately equipped to support amputee veterans to the same standard as the military.

Dr Andrew Murrison, Tory MP for South West Wiltshire and ex-Royal Navy medical officer, will lead the review.

Health Minister Simon Burns said those injured must get "first class care".

Dr Murrison will look at future funding for technologically advanced prosthetic limbs, in order to minimise the "postcode lottery" in services.

He will also examine the role of service charities like the British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association (Blesma).

He said: "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."

Mr Burns also said he was grateful to the service charities for bringing the issue to his attention.

"We remain firmly committed to ensuring that military personnel will continue to receive the standard of prosthetics issued by the Ministry of Defence at Headley Court when they are discharged," he added.

"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."

Dr Murrison is expected to report back by the end of June.