The Department of Health has published an update on its progress in taking forward the recommendations of the Murrison report regarding the future care for armed forces veteran amputees. This update relates to the introduction of an interim system for funding the provision of prosthetics. The following arrangements broadly echo the thoughts voiced at the last consultation held in London that the Limbless Association attended in terms of a ring-fenced fund being available to veterans who attend a Disablement Services Centre of their choice.
The longer term system is still under development by the Department of Health. This article is based on the Department of Health website article which can be seen in full by clicking here.
Who qualifies for the new funding?
This additional funding is only available to veterans who have lost a limb whilst in military service. A veteran who has left military service, but whose limb loss is attributable to an injury sustained whilst in service, also qualifies. Veterans who lose limbs after they leave the military or suffer limb loss whilst in the military that is not attributable to service (e.g. in a civilian road traffic accident), will continue to access services as usual through their local DSC.
The interim funding system
The interim system for funding individual veterans’ prosthetics can be accessed by existing and new veterans, with the support of their DSC. The Veteran’s Prosthetics Panel is the body that will make decisions on how funding is used whilst the longer-term solution is being developed.
What will be funded?
The additional funding for veterans is for treatment that would not normally be provided by the NHS i.e:
- Routine maintenance of components that are outside warranty will, generally speaking, continue to be the responsibility of the relevant DSC
- Existing veterans may apply to upgrade their current prosthesis. This will require an assessment and the support of a Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine to ensure that any new prosthesis is clinically indicated and that the individual can benefit from it
- Warranties for new prostheses should cover routine maintenance and upkeep for most components
- Sockets, suspension and any orthoses required to support a new limb may however be funded by the Panel
The Panel will make decisions about sports prostheses on a case-by-case basis, once full support from a Consultant has been established. Funding for transport and associated costs may be made available to veterans who require services not available at their local DSC.