NBT part of £11 million funding boost to improve NHS prosthetic care for war veterans

Friday, 15 February 2013

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has announced today that a Bristol centre is among NHS services across the country set to benefit from additional funding to improve prosthetic and rehabilitation services for ex-servicemen and women.

The Disablement Services Centre at North Bristol NHS Trust will benefit from a total £11 million made available by the Government 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.

It is among nine NHS facilities across the country to 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.  

Henry Lumley, manager of the Disablement Services Centre at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "We are pleased to be named as one of the nine specialist tertiary prosthetics centres for war veterans. This recognises the quality of our services and reflects the dedication and professionalism of our staff.

"We see this as an opportunity to further develop and enhance our services to benefit not only our war veterans but also our other patients."

North Bristol NHS Trust Chief Executive Marie-Noelle Orzel is also the commanding officer of a RAF reserves’ aero medical evacuation squadron. She said: "Having witnessed first hand the types of injuries suffered by servicemen and women in my role with the RAF Reserves I am pleased that North Bristol NHS Trust can now play a prominent role in their on-going treatment."

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.