Care for Amputees, Ex troops Reviewed

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by bokkatankie, Jan 3, 2011.

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  1. Care for amputee ex-troops reviewed
    (UKPA) – 16 hours ago
    The Government has launched a review of how the NHS looks after former British service personnel who lost limbs serving their country.
    Armed Forces charities have raised concerns that the civilian health service is not adequately equipped to support amputee veterans to the same standard provided at the military's Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey.
    Dr Andrew Murrison, a former Royal Navy medical officer who is now Conservative MP for South West Wiltshire, will lead the review.
    He will look at future funding for technologically advanced prosthetic limbs, minimising the "postcode lottery" in services and the role of service charities like the the British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association.
    Dr Murrison 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."
    Health Minister Simon Burns added: "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 prosthetics issued by the Ministry of Defence 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."
    Dr Murrison is expected to report back by the end of June.

    Interesting article, I was lucky to be beneficiary of revised rules post Feb 2010 but it appears not all are. My experience is that I, pretty much, get what I ask for but as I live in SA the process can be a little long winded. I am also lucky that HMG (via the Veterans Agency) have accepted my service injuries in full and seem willing to support me.

    I now have what I call the RM (picture to follow if required) leg (my children still call it the robot leg), fantastic, pain below all experienced before and I can trust it to do what I want when I want. Cost out here was about R140,000 (GBP12,000, paid for by HMG) but to me and my family worth every penny, my children (6 and 9) say Daddy is so much more fun. However, I only have one leg, no spare and this is a concern.

    I would be interested to know other peoples experiences. Given the sad numbers of new BLESMA members, this year alone, we need to ensure that ex-service care is just as good as in-service care wherever you may choose to live.

    As a member of BLESMA, I think that this would be useful research to assist them in their pressure on NHS and Govt.
  2. The current technology at Headley Court is the C-leg, this is the only prosthetic suitable for above knee amputees.

    The base cost of one C-leg is £17,500 for the components alone. I won't mention what Blatchford charge for their services, but it is only a fraction of the £47,000 usual commercial cost.

    One of the NHS trusts had a prosthetics budget of £2.1 million to cater for 1800 patients. Headley court have spent £402 million for approximate 350 patients.

    Statistically it doesn't look good.
  3. Mine is LLBK so cost much less but still very expensive.

    In SA workmans comp (which includes service veterans) provides about R40,000 (GBP4,500) for first leg and very little further funding through life, so I am lucky to be covered by UK VA. But based on your figures things will look bleak for through life care once you are out of the services and in NHS care. Main thing is to ensure that your local NHS understands that your care is for VA budget not theirs (but in reality I wonder if that works).

    I have found the VA very helpful (but not fast in response and they are reluctant to use email) and they have provided funding reliably for the last 7 years that I have been in SA but effectively I have to pay first and then re-claim from VA.
  4. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

  5. There's more to it than amputees as well. When I worked for a PCT I visited the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust facilities, which do some of the MOD rehab work as they're extremely good at it, regularly to review patients and remember one of the consultants (who knew I'd been to Afghanistan) telling me that rehabilitation techniques for these injuries was years behind the emergency treatment for these injuries that were now survivable, causing huge care costs further down the line.
  6. This is a shitty situation. My understanding is that the NHS is contracted with the MoD to maintain existing prosthetics but not to replace them. Also there is the point of clinical need. There would be a lot of pissed off civvy patients who probably could do with the same level of service that are provided to MoD patients. It might be argued - and I have a huge amount of sympathy with this view - that forces patients should have priority given that they were putting their lives on the line for the rest of us (even though I fail to see why, for example, a guy who loses their leg in an RTA should be treated any differently from a civilian who loses a leg in similar circumstances) but at the end of the day - in my view anyway - how each and every patient should be treated by the NHS is down to their clinical need and not how they lost their limbs. In no other field of medicine (this comes under rehabilitation medicine btw) within the NHS is this distinction made.

    Blue touch paper? Maybe but as an amputee I can see very clearly the issues involved.
  7. You are correct here. The C-leg will last between 5 and 7 years. The problem is there is no other solution for double amputees with high amputation.

    If a woman has a clinical need for breast enlargement because she's depressed for being as flat as an ironing board then there should be no problem nor complaint. Civilians benefit in a number of ways:

    1. Due to new techniques and procedures learned in the treatment of injured soldiers medicine has advanced greatly.

    2. The MoD pays for a large amount med services, including nurses who care for civilians and doctors of all levels, I appreciate that service personnel also benefit from NHS staff, but we also contribute to the finances of this country and are just as entitled to NHS care.

    Referring again back to clinical need, I feel that I should be treated before many civilians as I am a complex trauma case and require many operations, having "to wait in line" would probably mean I'd be in rehab for 15 - 20 years.

    Selfish I may be, but I'm****ed and have noticed that the only way I get things done with the NHS is to aggressively push them.

    In short the NHS are a disgrace to the needs of many injured service and exservice personnel.
  8. Taking you point as to why you should jump any queues:

    But then so are any number of civilian patients. Sorry but to put it bluntly but they might have clinical needs which means that they should be seen before you. Whilst the principal of treatment according to clinical needs still persists within the NHS (& it still is stated as part of the core values) then sorry but thats the way it is.

    On a personal level I have a better understanding of what you are going through than most being a transfemoral amputee and i wish you the very best.

    If the NHS is a disgrace to service personnel then WTF do you think it is like for the rest of us?
  9. Unix, I badly injured both legs in-service, on duty, but as a result of an RTA, as this was back in 2001 (but did not lose my leg until 2003), I was cared for by NHS until I moved to SA. In 2001, having gone in with one leg that could be saved and one that was in a very bad way they attempted Ilizarov frame but this was hampered, to say the least, by the fact that they gave me MRSA. This very nearly cost me both legs and in the end the Ilizarov frame failed due to constant infection and eventual failure of bones to join, at no point did I attend Headley Court. Having seen the facilities at the prosthetic centre in Portsmouth and Salford I have every sympathy with anyone who has no choice but to use the NHS (I can only hope it has improved since 2002).

    I had my leg amputated in SA by way of the Medical Insurance process in this country. The care was fantastic (but rehab was a bit ad hoc) but as I had already been medically discharged with a War Disability Pension the VA became my ultimate route for prosthetic leg build, maintenance and replacement as required. Medical insurance in SA does not cover this (does not make much sense but apparently it is not viewed as a chronic condition!) and I am not entitled to use the Government facilites as I am not an SA citizen.

    So I am very grateful for the support I receive from the VA and that I do not have to rely on the NHS or pay out my own pocket in SA.
  10. Have a look @ PM
  11. PM'ed you back. Thanks, but you have to understand that I am one of the lucky ones, no waiting lists, no budgets, VA pay and I get what I want.

    Fair?, of course not, but that is the system and I am lucky beneficiary of it, for how long?, time will tell.
  12. That would be fine if it is true, but it is quite apparent that once away from the NHS following a bout of treatment it is extremely difficult to get back in due to NHS targets.